Vehicle care goes so far beyond getting the regular oil change every year. Now that temperatures have dropped in the city, there’s never been a more important time to make sure your vehicle is running at its best. Here at Kentwood Ford, we’ve got everything you need to help get your Ford ready to tackle the snow and ice. But before you drop by our service department, there’s a handful of things you can do yourself to prep your Ford for the cold.
Check Your Battery
Check your battery and ensure it’s in good working condition. Car batteries are typically of the lead/acid variety and should last anywhere from 3-5 years depending on the climate conditions and quality of the battery. Extreme heat and cold are very hard on them, and will reduce their lifespan.
A good quality car battery will start at around $120 and can run up to around $300 for very high-quality Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries. You can replace it yourself or have the shop do it.
Replace your summer windshield washer fluid with at least -40 winter fluid. If you can find it, get the stuff that helps to de-ice the windshield. Need help emptying your reservoir? It’s easy! Just turn on the sprayer and hold until it’s not spraying anymore. Once empty, just fill it with the new -40 stuff.
If your windshield wiper blades are more than six months old, they’re probably due for a change. Drastic seasonal changes in Alberta wreak havoc on our wipers, so if yours have already been through a rough winter season, it’s best to swap them out. A clear windshield offers a much safer view of the road.
Treat Your Tires Well
This is probably the most important way to winterize your vehicle. Not only should you install your winter tires, but make sure you also get them rotated and check the treading to see if it’s still good. Rotating your tires should cost you no more than $75 and you can make sure the ones with the best tread are placed on the front (and you can get both of those things done, here!).
Also, make sure you check the tire pressure and adjust it to meet the specs on the tire label on your car’s door frame or pillar. Keep in mind cold conditions can cause tire pressure to drop, so keep an eye on yours and ideally do a quick walk around every day or two to check them out.
Check Your Lights (All of them!)
These are on your vehicle for a reason. Having a functioning set of headlights (not just one) is an essential safety requirement. If you can’t see the road and its immediate surroundings at night, that’s just not safe. The same lesson applies to brake lights. If the driver behind you can’t see your brake lights, then the odds of a serious collision increase dramatically.
Just because your vehicle’s daytime running lights are working, it does not mean the actual headlights and rear tail lights are working. Check your vehicle and make sure you turn on all the lights at night. It’s for your benefit and safety after all!
Check Your Liquids
Modern vehicles require specialized coolant and anti-freeze that’s compatible with aluminum engine parts. Fortunately, virtually all the coolant on the market today works just fine, but check the label and make sure it is suitable for your vehicle. The normal freezing point for your engine coolant is -40 degrees and keep in mind that most diesel engines use a different type of coolant than gas engines, so read the label carefully!
Lubricate For The Ice
Water can get into important components of your vehicle and freeze overnight without you knowing it. This is especially worrisome for trying to open the door or the window because the damage caused by the extra force opening them can sometimes cost up to $300 to repair. The best way to make sure they don’t freeze overnight is to apply some spray silicone or dry teflon spray lubricant to openings in the window tracks, weather strippings, door locks, latches and hinges.
For everything else, you may need to prepare your Ford for the winter, make sure to give our service department a shout and we’ll take care of the rest!