Snow on Route 1 in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Car maintenance tips for winter

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Winter is almost upon us.

Before the frigid temperatures and unpredictable weather make their appearance, it’s important to check in on your vehicle.

Does it need any repairs? Is it all caught up on car maintenance?

Addressing any problems or concerns now helps extend the lifespan of different components and systems, and improves your safety on the road.

There are many items we recommend looking over. They include:

  • Battery
  • Tires
  • Tire pressure
  • Brakes
  • Belts
  • Windshield wipers
  • Headlights
  • Fluids

Car maintenance checklist

"Replace battery" on battery test for Nissan Xterra battery.

Battery

Confirming that your car has a good, high quality battery is one part of car maintenance.

When you bring it in to a mechanic or auto repair shop, see if they can perform a car battery test. 

During very hot and cold months, a weak car battery can die – and potentially leave you stranded.

To work properly, the battery must be secured properly and not have any corrosion buildup on the terminals.

Additional details are provided in an article we wrote about battery problems.

BFGoodrich Train-Terrain T/A Tire.

Tires

Tires play a large part in your safety. A dependable tire with a good tread depth can prevent you from hydroplaning on rainy days.

To pass the Virginia state inspection, the tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch. Based on the tire and the car you drive, you might want to replace them sooner.

You also don’t want to use tries that are too old or have tire damage.

There are plenty of winter tires and all season tires to choose from. You can learn about a few new Michelin tires we recommend in this article we wrote.

Tire pressure

It’s not only a good idea to replace tires when it’s necessary. With the colder days, you should take a closer look at your current tires, especially if the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light turns on. 

If all of the tires are low this time of year, it’s probably a result of the drop in temperatures. One tire having less air than the rest could indicate that it has been injured by a nail or other object. 

You don’t want to drive on low tires for very long, because it can lead to the outside edges wearing prematurely.

Check out our article about tire pressure and why it matters for more information.

Heat spots on brake rotor.

Brakes

Brakes require regular checkups, too. Brake pads, rotors and other components wear out overtime. 

It’s important that the brake system is in good working order, in case inclement weather hits.

Brake replacement should be performed when they reach 2/32 of an inch (or sooner). Grinding and squealing sounds can also clue you in that it’s time for brake repair.

Our article “Does my car need new brakes” talks about how often brakes should be replaced and brake services we offer. 

Dark power steering fluid on Nissan Altima.

Fluids

How is your coolant, windshield washer fluid, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering looking?

Are any of them low? There might be a leak that needs to be resolved. 

Does the power steering, transmission, or brake fluid appear dark? You may want to have it replaced through a mileage-based service. These flushes ensure that related parts last as long as possible. 

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Dale City, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.