WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Since autumn can quickly change to winter conditions, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base suggests that now is a good time to prepare vehicles for the cold temperatures and slippery road conditions that lie ahead.
“Preparing for winter includes not only temperature, but also road conditions,” said Michael McCreary, mechanic supervisor at the Auto Hobby Shop in the Consolidated Hobby Complex in the Kittyhawk Area at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“If you are considering a tire purchase in the near future, consider making it before the first freeze as winter roads need serviceable tire tread,” McCreary, said.
“By the time winter officially hits, you will have probably already used the vehicle wipers,” said McCreary. “If they didn’t perform, it’s better to replace them before you need them and/or keep a spare set in the vehicle.”
Other considerations when winterizing your car are coolant services that have three purposes.
According to McCreary, the first step is to lower the coolant freezing temperature. Second is to raise the coolant boiling point, and third is preventing cooling system rust.
The first two actions will last several years, providing there are no cooling system faults. The third, on the other hand, only lasts for a few years, McCreary said.
“Make sure to use the coolant specified for your make of vehicle. If adding/topping-off, a 50/50 mix is useful. If, on the other hand a replacement is intended, a 100 percent fluid is better because it allows installation of sufficient coolant before the system is full. Install 50-75 percent of the cooling system capacity and then top-off with clean water,” McCreary, said.
Engine coolant is also what provides warm fluid for the vehicle heater. In preparation for winter, once it is at operating temperature, check the vehicle’s heater for both temperature control and for mode control (floor dash windshield, etc.) Repair as necessary, according to McCreary.
“The engine’s water pump is either electrical (rare), timing belt driven (can’t see the belt), or serpentine drive belt driven. For the latter, check the belt for wear or damage and replace at the recommended interval or if damage is visible,” said McCreary, “The side of the road is no place to find a bad belt.”
“In preparation for things that winter makes difficult, we also recommend that the vehicle jack, tire tools and spare tire mechanism be checked. The side of an icy road is no place to find out that your spare tire won’t deploy from the vehicle,” added McCreary.
For additional information or questions, call McCreary at 937-257-3310.
Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.