HAWTHORNE, N.J. -- With overnight and early morning temperatures starting to dip below freezing, Hawthorne Chevrolet Service Manager Joe DeCangi usually starts to see cars begin to line up in his service bays.
"In ice and snow you tend to see a lot of transmission issues" he says. "People slam into curbs, hit their front ends and their heat isn't hot enough. People often let their tires go all summer and in the winter they're worthless." To keep your car on the road and off the lift, there are several preventive steps that can greatly reduce the odds of a malfunction.
First and foremost, drivers should make sure their coolants are filled with the correct mixture. In summer months, many people use water as an engine coolant, but once the temperature drops it can freeze and crack hoses and radiators. DeCangi suggests mixing water with anti-freeze to make sure engine blocks stay ice-free.
Battery terminals also can cause headaches when winter arrives. DeCangi suggests inspecting all battery terminals and making sure they are free from corrosion. If there are dirty spots, a light wire brush cleaning can remove debris and ensure a solid connection. Hawthorne Chevy also offers free battery testing to ensure that your battery holds ample charge to get you through the cold months.
Drivers should also try and keep their tanks a full as possible during the winter, DeCangi cautions. "The cold temperatures can cause condensation to occur in the empty tank space, and dilutes the gas."
While walking out to the car in the morning to get it warmed up is unpleasant, it can go a long way in making sure your car runs smoothly. "Its not a good idea to let a car idle for a long time, but it's important to let it it idle for a minute or two in the morning." he says. DeCangi believes idling anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes in the morning is sufficient.
For more tips, visit the service professionals at Hawthorne Chevrolet.