Cars are not made for the northeast.
Being in a salt zone with nightmare salt and rust
When you live here and get a new car, look for one with plastic fuel & brake lines and fuel tank. If not, immediately coat the lines with wheel bearing grease and focus on the areas where the lines are attached to the body. This is the biggy for leaks down the road. I have one customer that has his undercarriage sprayed with oil , I charge more because of this on repairs that require cleaning...I'm not working in that slop.
Clean the inside of the windsheild and remove any haze. Make sure the wipers work and remember to clean the snow and ice off the wipers prior to turning the switch on. Wipers should clean the window and not be streaky. Try cleaning the blade with rubbing alcohol and a rag if so. Replace of there is no improvement. Is the windsheild washer solvent a quality one or will it freeze in bitter temps? Is the reservior full and the squirters working?
If tires are within an 1/8" of the wear bar, you best be aware of driving in the snow will be difficult most often. Wide tires suck in the snow. Test out the car in a parking lot that is empty to see how it will handle and stop in snow.
The biggest important thing is to be current with the maintenance...that is a broad opinion however when determining needed maintenance. Coolant flushes would be typical of required maintenance.
Underwstnad that this climate is a severe duty climate and does change the required/suggested/needed schedule. Oil changes 3 monthes or 3000...primarily when the season is present or moisture will be present in the engine.
IS the battery 5 years old? Strongly consider it. Are the battery cables and connections clean and protected?
Clean all weatherstripping with silicone.
Check the temperature of the heat before you need it and make sure the blower speeds and air volume direction are going where they need to be.
Keep an eye for your lights all the way around to be visable...If they look dirty, make them visable. If they don't work fix them. If your lenses are foggy, replace them. For the cost of buffing them out, you will get a much better field of vision for a comparable cost in many cases.
If you own a caravan or voyager, make sure your engine does not have the belt throwing condition in snow.
Keep locks lubed.
Be aware of a build up of ice in a rim can cause a front end shake or vibration.
Understand that 4 wheel drive can go like hell in the snow but stops no better than if it did not.
Is the spare accessible and full? Is the jack accessible and working?
Thursday, October 21st, 2010 AT 1:07 AM