Carson, CA – December 14, 2010 – Thanksgiving 2010 was one of the busiest road travel holidays in years, and Christmas 2010 road travel is expected to peak as well. For those sunbirds in southern climates who are preparing to drive into colder weather, AutoMD.com offers a reminder to winterize that vehicle, along with a ten point check list and how-to guides.
“People who drive north for the holidays often forget that their vehicle needs special preparation for the winter road ahead, and can end up with chilly regrets on a snowy roadside,” said AutoMD.com President Shane Evangelist. “Whether you are an Angeleno headed for Big Bear, a Floridian headed for the Blue Ridge Mountains, or the average holiday traveler readying your vehicle for that trip to grandma’s house, take the time to put your ride through AutoMD.com’s ten point winter travel vehicle checklist. We provide step-by-step How-to’s to do it yourself (or an easy-to-use local repair shop or dealership finder) so you can have a smooth and safe road trip to your winter holiday destination.”
AutoMD.com’s Holiday Travel Winterizing Check List
- Check the antifreeze (coolant). The engine cooling system should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and boiling over. Antifreeze testers are available at your local auto parts store to test the mixture. To keep the cooling system operating at peak performance, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing the antifreeze (flush and fill).
- Change the engine oil. Use the recommended oil viscosity range for winter. 5W-30 motor oil flows quicker in cold weather than 20W-50. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend 5W-30 oil for year round protection.
- Check the tires. Tires should be properly inflated, and the tread depth should be at least 4/32”. Using snow tires can improve traction over all-season tires.
- Check the battery. Cold temperatures can reduce the battery’s power. If the battery is older than four years, it may be time to replace it.
- Check the belts and hoses. Cold weather can reduce the life expectancy of belts and hoses, so make sure yours are in good shape before getting on the road.
- Check the wipers and wiper fluid. Replace wipers that are old or worn, and (to prevent freezing) use windshield washer fluid instead of water.
- Check the emergency kit. Make sure your kit is well stocked and add an ice scraper, tire chains, jumper cables, and warm clothes for winter weather emergencies. Remember to include a candle and matches, as well as some bottled water and energy bars. You can use a candle for light and warmth inside the vehicle if you get stranded.
- Check 4WD operation if equipped. Since you may not have used 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) all year, make sure the 4WD is activated (review your manual on “how to activate”) when you switch it on. Using 4WD improves traction in slippery conditions.
- Change your driving habits. Slow down and increase your following distance when driving in harsh weather. All vehicles lose traction in rain, snow and ice.
- Wash and wax your car. It is a good idea to get a good car wash and wax before you head north to protect your paint from road salt, and be sure to wash your car as soon as you return home, to remove any lingering road salt.