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Time to Winterize 10 Tips to Prepare Your Car Truck or SUV for Winter

Created on: 2020-11-21

In this video, Len give you some tips on what you should do to look over your vehicle to get it in shape for winter!

Hey, friends, it's Len here from 1A Auto. So, winter's coming, that means inclement weather and, of course, colder temperatures. There's a lot of things on your vehicle you're going to need to think about. So, let's go over a few right now.

All right. Now, the first thing that we're going to do is get underneath the hood and we're going to start by checking all of our fluids. Go ahead and start on the driver side. Typically, you're going to find your master cylinder and that's going to have your brake fluid in it. Go ahead and take a look from the side and you'll see where the maximum line is. You can also open the cap and make sure that it looks as though it's clean and clear. Typically, if the fluid starts getting dark brown in any way, it's time for a flush. Moving along, you'd want to check your oil level. There's going to be a little oil dipstick and generally, it'll say engine oil right on it. Go ahead and pull that out, wipe it down, inspect the color of the oil, and then, of course, put it back in, pull it back out, and check the level. Make sure that the level's in between the high and low mark, and also make sure that the color looks good. If you're behind on your maintenance, well, it really only makes sense to get it done ASAP. Obviously, you're going to want to check your automatic transmission fluid. Essentially when you're checking your fluid level, you want the engine to be hot and on a level surface while the vehicle's running. Go ahead and pull out that dipstick. You want the fluid to be in between the two hatches where it says in the hot range. If it looks as though it's too high, well, then you need to get a little bit out of there. If it's too low, go ahead and add a little bit. And, of course, for transmission fluid, it's important to make sure that you go with only the manufacturer-specified type of fluid. If you don't, you could potentially mess up your transmission.

Moving along talking about fluids, we might as well move along to the coolant. You want to only open your radiator if the fluid's cool. If it's hot to the touch, definitely don't open it. As you open it, open it away from your face and inspect the cap itself. If you see any coolant crusties that look like they're coming around the metal area, that means that your cap's been venting, especially if you see it up along the top. Another thing that you want to pay attention to is down inside the radiator. You want to look to see if it looks like there's any funny colors or debris or anything that shouldn't be inside there. Go ahead and inspect that coolant. Make sure that it's the color that it's supposed to be for your particular type of vehicle. And then, of course, if you have something that you could test the coolant, you want it to be testing at approximately negative 32, that's the freeze point, and if it's not at that point, you could potentially have your coolant freezing up inside your engine in inclement weather. Once you're sure that the radiator is full, go ahead and check your overflow. You want to make sure that that's full as well. You just want it to be up inside the hatch lines here, but not all the way up to the top of the actual container itself. Of course, we're going to want to check and top off our washer fluid. Go ahead and open up the reservoir, take a peek inside. See what color it is. If it's a little bit low, you definitely want to add to it. Washer fluid is going to be very important for your vision as you're driving down the road. In inclement weather, there could be kick up of slush or even salt, and that's going to cause an issue for vision. If you can't wash it down because you don't have washer fluid, you're going to be in big trouble.

Time to look at that battery. Go ahead and look at both terminals. If you see any funny colors or even fuzzies growing off of it, well, that tells you that there's corrosion and that needs to be taken care of because it will put a draw on your battery. Also while we're looking at the battery, if you have access to a multimeter, set it to 20 volts right here, and now we're going to test the voltage and we want to make sure we have at least 12 volts, preferably 12.4. So, this one looks really good, 12.36. That's telling me that the battery is doing just fine. But if I was floating around the 12 or even in the 11s without even the weather being cold, that's going to tell me that the battery is in poor condition and it needs to be either serviced or replaced. This looks good. Let's cover it back up. Take a peek at that fuse box. Just make sure you don't see any mouse nest in here or anything like that. This looks really good as well. Make sure you close it back up so it's sealed. Let's move along to checking that air filter. Go ahead and lift up your service box here. We're going to take a look at the air filter, pull it right out, and look in between these areas here. If you see a whole bunch of dirt or debris, well, then you want to replace it.

This doesn't look very bad at all. Something else I'd like to mention about the air filters though, is as the weather gets cooler, mice tend to like to make a little nest up inside your housing here. So, if you look down inside the bottom of the box, you might end up seeing a whole bunch of acorns or mouse nest or anything like that. If there is, you need to make sure you service that and double inspect your filter. If it looks as though a mouse has chewed through it in any way, you need to replace it ASAP. Do not drive your vehicle with a hole in the air filter. Something else to talk about that involves your air intake system would be your mass airflow sensor. Not every vehicle is going to have one of these right out in the open, but if you can unbolt it from where it is located, go ahead and take it out and inspect it. If it looks as though the little piton in there is dirty, you need to go ahead and clean it down. You would do that with something as simple as mass airflow sensor cleaner, but definitely don't use a regular parts cleaner. Once you have it clean, go ahead and reinstall it. Now, looking along your engine where all your pulleys are, you're going to see your serpentine belt. You want to inspect that, make sure you don't see any tears in it. And give it a little spin. If you look at those ribs and you can see a whole bunch of cracks, it only makes sense to go ahead and replace the belt before winter. Go ahead and give it a nice little tug like this. And that's going to be checking the tensioner. If you can't pull your belt and the tensioner is not moving, then that means that your tensioner's frozen and that's definitely going to be an issue.

Of course, it's going to be a good idea to spray down your hood latch with some penetrant/lubricant. You want to make sure that that's going to be nice and free throughout the winter and, of course, make your way to each of your doors and spray down those hinges and the latches themselves as well. Obviously, we want to check all of our lights, make sure everything works as it should. And then while we're inside the passenger compartment, let's also check those wiper blades and the washer squirters. And since we're inside the vehicle, let's also make sure our blower motor works on all speeds, especially high, of course. We're gonna be spending a lot more time inside the vehicle with the windows up in the wintertime. So, you want to make sure this functions fully as it should and you also want to make sure that your cabin air filter is clean assuming you have one.

Of course, with inclement weather, we want to make sure our four-wheel-drive works as it should. Outside of the vehicle, we're obviously gonna want to take a look at our tires. You want to make sure that you have plenty of tread depth. If you have one of these tools, go ahead and stick it in there and make sure you're doing all right. If you're down at 2 or 3/32 on your tread, you really don't have enough meat for the wintertime. Make sure that the tires aren't actually chopping in any way. Of course, we're going to want to check our tire pressure. That can be done right here on the valve stem. And if you need to know what it's supposed to be, check on the inside of your driver side door. Take a quick peek through your wheels at your brakes. If it looks as though they're worn a little low, it only really makes sense to go ahead and remove your wheel and inspect the brakes more thoroughly.

Of course, if you can jack up the front end of your vehicle so the wheels off the ground, check the front end. Grab your wheel, grab it at 6 and 12, shake it up and down. Go side to side like this, give it a little shake. If you feel any movement in either direction, you need to check that out. Also, give it a little spin, listen for any funny noises. Now, if you felt as though you wanted to get down on the ground, it really only makes sense to just kind of give everything an overall look over. You want to check to see if you have any leaks any place because obviously any chemicals spilling down on the ground is going to be very bad overall. It also kind of lets you know if you're going to be losing lubricant over the winter. With that said, you want to check your front differential, assuming you have a four-wheel-drive, the transfer case in the center of the vehicle and all the way at the back. If you have a rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive, you're going to have your rear differential. You need to make sure you check all those fluids. Also, some of your vehicles, especially if you have a pickup truck of some sort are going to have a driveshaft like this. Typically, on the driveshafts, they're going to have a U-joint that looks a lot like this area here. And a lot of times, if they're aftermarket U-joints, they're going to have grease fittings on them. Anything that has a grease fitting needs to be greased. With that said, a lot of times in the front end of your vehicle, you should potentially have grease fittings there as well, such as may be on your ball joints or even on your tie rod ends.

More than likely you're going to have some axle CV boots like this. If you do, you want to make sure that they're not ripped or hard in any way. And, of course, take a look at your front struts. You should have coil springs on the front. If they're broken, you need to replace the whole thing as a unit and typically, you do it as a pair. And, of course, while you're under your vehicle, you might as well go ahead and check your spare tire because if it's underinflated, you're obviously gonna have an issue.

Okay, friends, so that's pretty much what I've got for you on things that I would look over for if it was getting to be wintertime. With that said, every vehicle is pretty much going to have its own things going on. Maybe it's just two-wheel-drive or maybe it's four-wheel-drive, maybe things are in different locations as well. Keeping that in mind, just kind of stick to the basics. Make sure you check all your fluids, check those tires, check your brakes if you got access to them. And if you can get underneath the vehicle to take a peek under there, hey, why not? I hope you liked the video and I hope you learned a little something along the way. Maybe you got something to say. If you do, leave it in the comment section below because I always love to hear from you. Smash on the like button and, of course, ring the bell and subscribe so you can be kept up with all of our latest content. Thanks.

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