My son Jack McInnis will attend Session 1 on May 24-25. My husband and I look forward to the Empty Nester Social. - Anya McInnis, Houston, Tx
Depending on how harsh your winter is, there are several parts of the family car that could start making a problem. Sure, you may know your vehicle inside and out, which means that you might be able to storm this winter without any problems. However, there are two problems that arise from this. First, is this really a risk that you’re willing to take, especially when you take into consideration just how easily avoidable and unnecessary it is? Second, are you the only one taking the risk? Chances are that both your spouse and your teenage children might get behind the wheel at one point, so are you willing to have them take this risk, as well? Here’s how you can winter-proof your car in just a couple of days and avoid all of these problems, altogether. 1. Switch to your winter tires The first and the most obvious thing you need to do is get yourself some winter tires. Sure, you can use winter tires all-year-round. You see, while the law mandates that you need to use winter tires during the colder part of the year, there’s no similar law to having summer tires during summer. The reason why replacing them is so important is that you get to prolong the life of these tires. It’s not about the age (well, not entirely) but about the mileage and the friction. This means that by having two sets, you get to keep your tires in prime condition for a lot longer. Also, using winter tires throughout the year isn’t recommended from the standpoint of performance. 2. Replace the oil Oil viscosity or the density of the oil is something that is affected by the temperatures. In general, you have conventional motor oil, synthetic blend motor oil, full-synthetic motor oil and a high mileage oil. These oils differ in various properties, one of which is viscosity or the density of the oil. As the temperature decreases, the viscosity gets thinner and when the temperature starts growing, the viscosity gets higher. Picking the right oil (thicker for winter and thinner for summer) will result in better oil consumption. 3. Check the battery One more thing you need to take a look at before the winter arrives is your car battery. Generally speaking, batteries are far more likely to die during the winter, seeing as how your vehicle requires more current in order to fight the cold. Swapping the battery in the winter can be particularly problematic, so why not just check your voltmeter (chances are that the vehicle is already equipped with one) or take it to a mechanic? Then, you can just swap it if it’s currently low. 4. The fuel pump Another thing you need to check is your fuel pump which is a part whose purpose is to push the fuel from the tank to the injectors. You see, checking the battery, which is something that we’ve already discussed, is the most common reason why your car has a hard time starting in winter. Still, just as often, it’s trouble related to a problem with the fuel pump. First, you have a failure to start, the sputtering of the vehicle at high speed and difficulties with climbing uphill. ordering a new fuel pump like Walbro 460 from platforms like T.I Performance (for Ford and Holden drivers), would, therefore, be the optimal solution to this problem. 5. Change your wiper blades While this tip often gets underestimated, we just cannot stress the importance of it enough. During the colder part of the year, you’ll constantly drive with impaired vision. By having adequate wiper blades, you’ll ensure that you can easily and reliably clear your field of vision whenever you feel the need for this. Also, wiper blades are inexpensive and you can buy them virtually anywhere (from shops and general stores all the way to gas stations). Replacing them on your own is also a fairly simple task. The very last thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that preparing your family car for winter isn’t something that you’ll just do once and then never repeat again. The same thing awaits you the following year. So, the sooner you study this checklist and prepare for all the tasks, the better.