Preparing Your Toyota Car Parts For Winter

As the straggling Indian Summer days have finally given way to the inaugural frosts of the season, we shift our focus to preparing our cars for the cold winter months. For cars, winter weather conditions magnify existing problems; graduating small pings and hard engine starts to failed heaters and dead batteries ? always at the wrong time. With freezing temperatures, rain, snow and ice on the horizon, responsible drivers should now take the time to prepare their cars with a standard winter tune-up.
Winter tune-ups are like vaccinations to people: they ensure the health of your car and prevent some nasty disorders from ever occurring. But even though conventional wisdom holds that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," the National Car Care Council reports that only 30% of motorists winterize their car. Similar to its spring counterpart, a basic winter tune-up does not have to be expensive, nor performed by a mechanic. Without any type of winter tune-up though, older engines will run rough and lose power, and newer cars suffer advanced wear and tear.
The basic winter car tune-up should first focus on the oil and the battery. Winter conditions generally require a thinner oil weight to minimize engine wear. For example, an engine that normally uses 10W-30 oil, should consider changing to a thinner 5W-30. In regards to the battery, cold temperatures drastically slow a battery?s chemical reaction upon starting the engine. In fact, a strong battery can lose up to 50% of its output in freezing conditions. A simple rule-of-thumb is that if the battery?s connections are noticeably loose or corroded, the battery is likely to be weak and in need of replacement. Just as a car?s oil requires close attention, the same applies to the vehicle?s other fluids, including the antifreeze, brake, transmission, and power steering fluid levels. Check your engine's hoses and belts for wear and tear as they can affect the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering, and the engine's cooling system.
In preparation for compromised road conditions, car tires should be inspected regularly for proper inflation and tread wear. When the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch, tires must be replaced. A ?penny-test? is a reliable tool to check tire tread. Take a penny and put Lincoln?s head into one of the grooves of the tire tread. If part of his head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the legal amount of tread. If you can see all of President?s head though, it's time to replace the tire.
As visibility is certain challenge every driver in winter, be it with fewer hours of daylight or fog, snow, and rain, check your headlights (both high-beam and low-beam) to ensure that bulbs are aimed in the proper direction. Now is the time to change your windshield wiper blades as well, especially since the summer heat more than likely compromised their effectiveness. Experts recommend changing them every six months regardless.
Winterizing a car also involves preparing for a bit more of a survival-based emergency resulting from inclement weather. A basic winter kit should be stowed in your trunk in case you become stranded in your car for a period of more than a couple hours. Use the trunk space to store survival essentials including bottled water, blanket, flashlight, matches, snacks, and warmer clothing. For the Boy Scout troop leaders, we also recommend carrying paper towels, a red flag, a bag of sand, transistor radio, first aid kit, small shovel, and Danielle Steel?s latest.

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