Monday, January 26, 2015

Winterize Now or Pay Later

When the weather turns cold, you retrieve your winter coat, gloves, boots and hat to combat the arctic blast. Why wouldn’t you take similar measures for protecting your Jeep from harsh winter weather? Winterization preparations should begin in the fall while temperatures are still warm enough to allow you to be outside for a long period of time.

Save yourself from costly winter repairs
Photo credit: Josh Koonce via Compfight
A thorough vehicle inspection done at an automotive center is a great idea as an inspection can uncover potential problems that may not readily be visible. If you have weatherstripping that is loose or cracked, this can be found during a vehicle inspection. Additionally, fluid leaks, bad hoses and frayed wiring can be discovered and fixed before winter sets in. One of the last things that you want is to be left stranded someplace as a result of a cracked hose that could have been discovered during an inspection.

Some of the obvious vehicle winterization tips include checking antifreeze levels and making sure you are using the appropriate antifreeze for your climate. Antifreeze should be properly mixed as this results in good corrosion protection for your Jeep’s cooling system. A 50/50 antifreeze/water ratio is considered normal but this ratio can change if you top off fluid levels by adding water only. Many antifreezes come premixed and it is good habit to add the premix to your fluid level rather than water only. To be safe, you should flush and fill your Jeep’s antifreeze reservoir before winter begins. This will help ensure that your engine block does not crack due to water freezing inside the block.  

Checking your tires is also on the list of obvious things to inspect before winter arrives. In some areas, snow tires are required and should be readily available. Some mountain locales also required the use on tire chains and you should keep these in your vehicle during the winter months. You should also practice installing the chains before winter begins because in many cases, the need to use tire chains comes unexpectedly; during a sudden winter storm for example. If your Jeep is located in a warmer winter climate, you may be laughing at these winterization tips but there is one thing that you should check on your Jeep even if you live in a warm climate. Always check your Jeep’s headlamps to see if they are working properly. Even though it may not be cold during the winter in your location, the daylight hours tend to be shorter, requiring longer use of headlights.

You should also check for innocuous items including your Jeep’s engine thermostat, defroster and windshield wiper blades. If the engine thermostat is bad, your Jeep could take longer to warm up, leading to a reduction in fuel economy. Obviously, you cannot check the defroster if temperatures are too warm for frost to develop, but at the onset of frost, check your defroster. If it does not work, you need to have it checked out.

Winterization can save you from big ticket items such as a cracked engine block and possibly an overheated engine, but the measures can also save you time an aggravation as you are less likely to need to call a tow truck to get a jump start because you did not check your battery or consider installing a new battery before the winter began.

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