SUV driving through puddleIf you leave your car parked for extended periods of time while traveling, go the extra mile by getting your vehicle ready for winter. This article is about winter specific car problems that might contribute to your car needing assistance when you return from a trip. Being prepared means more than installing snow tires on and keeping an ice scraper in your car! This checklist is too important to ignore. If you think you might need some services while you are away, arrange for them when you arrive at Roncari. Better to say something now, before you come back to a “dead” car.

Check Your Car’s Belts and Hoses

Belts and hoses are typically checked when your car is tuned-up (usually, every 30,000 miles). If your vehicle isn’t due for a tune-up this winter, ask a mechanic to take a look at how everything is holding up around your engine. Cold temperatures can weaken belts and hoses, and if something snaps or breaks while you’re out on the road, a seamless departure will be compromised. If you are concerned about this when you arrive at Roncari, ask to have your vehicle checked while you are away.

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full

Leaving a vehicle with a near empty fuel tank in sub-freezing temperatures could lead to problems. Cold and constantly shifting temperatures can cause condensation to form on the walls of an almost empty gas tank and drip down into the gas. Since water is heavier than gas, the water will eventually sink to the bottom. If water finds its way into the fuel lines, it will freeze up, blocking any flow of gas to the engine. No gas, no go. Repairing the damage could be costly. Now, the good news. If you are too rushed to fill up on your way to the airport, simply ask Roncari to top off your tank right as soon as you arrive. This will help prevent water damage in your fuel line and save you the cost of repairs.

Check Your Oil Level and Oil Viscosity

red SUV driving in snowOil lubricates the metal surfaces of your engine and stops them from grinding together and causing a lot of damage. The viscosity – or thickness – of the oil greatly affects your engine’s performance. If the oil is too thick, it will flow too slowly between parts and your engine will get too hot. In the winter time, cold temperatures cause oil to thicken, but you can overcome this problem by filling your engine with an oil of a lower viscosity. Simply ask for an oil change when you arrive at Roncari. The right oil for peak winter performance and protection will be installed. Problem solved.

Check Your Battery

Batteries can die at any time of year but it’s more likely in winter when cold temperatures hit car batteries with a triple-whammy. Add in the fact that many cars stand unused over the Christmas holiday and it’s no surprise that the first day back to work after New Year is always one of the busiest of the year for the AAA. Here are a few simple tips to reduce the chance of your battery letting you down this winter.

  1. Connections – A garage should check that clamps and connections to the battery are secure and free of corrosion.
  2. Battery Age – If the battery is more than five years old and there’s any sign that it struggles to start the car, get it replaced.
  3. Charge – Check that everything electrical is turned off when you leave your car – even an interior light, trunk light, or radio left on overnight can kill a battery, especially when it’s cold. If you do mostly short journeys or leave the car standing for days at a time, invest in a modern battery conditioner/intelligent charger. These can be left connected to the battery indefinitely and can prolong its life without overcharging it.