Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is Your Ride Ready for Winter?

Okay so if you live in the East or Midwest you're already knee deep into the winter season with snow, ice and school delays and cancellations. Even the south is getting hit with colder than usual temperatures, so take some time to do these simple maintenance checks of your vehicle if you haven't already. Now some of these tips might sound like "no-brainers," but at Royal Purple, we'd rather see you prepared than caught off guard!

Check your battery: Instead of landing on your "I Forgot" or "Why Didn't I Do That" list, put this one at the top. Make sure your battery posts and connections are free of corrosion and that it has the water it needs. If your battery is over three years old, have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge.

Belts and hoses: When you're having your vehicle serviced, make sure the belts and hoses are checked for wear and tear regardless of the age of your car. Cold weather can also affect the belts and hoses of a modern car, so an inspection can't hurt.

Have the right antifreeze mix: You will want to aim for a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water in your radiator. This prevents the mixture from freezing at extremely cold temperatures. Or try using a coolant additive like Royal Purple's Purple Ice that is a high performance, synthetic, radiator coolant additive. Royal Purple recommends a minimum of 20 percent antifreeze concentration be used in street driven vehicles because Purple Ice has no effect on the boiling and/or freezing point of water.

Check your four-wheel drive: If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, most likely you haven't had the need to use it until now, so it's a good idea to check the status of your four-wheel drive system. Make sure the system engages and disengages easily and that all of the drivers of the vehicle know how and when to use the system.

Get an oil change: When you're getting your vehicle ready for winter, change the oil using the right viscosity for your vehicle for the time of year. Conventional oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if too thick, it won't properly lubricate your engine. Check your owner's manual for guidance about which oil to use  in different climates and temperatures. Another alternative is to use a synthetic blend or full synthetic motor oil like Royal Purple that will extend the time between oil changes saving you money and having less impact on the environment with fewer oil disposals.

Emergency preparation: If you know you're going to be on the road, make sure you have an emergency kit in your trunk. Items you should include in your kit are: blanket, boots, gloves and warm clothes, water and food including hard candy, ice scraper, small shovel, jumper cables, tool kit, tire chains, tire gauge, spare tire (ready to be used), tire changing equipment, first aid kit, paper towels and abrasive material such as non-clumping cat litter or sand to provide traction in the snow.

Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. In the event you get stranded on the road, stay in your car, use your cell phone to communicate with family, friends and emergency personnel and run your car in 10 minute intervals opening your windows a crack and keeping your tailpipe clear to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

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