Is Your Vehicle Winter-Ready: Preventive Car Maintenance Guide

Are you ready for the winter weather and your upcoming holiday vacations?  Whether you are driving in and around MyrtleBeach, or going on a longer road trip, your local mechanics at Turn KeyAutomotive have several tips for you to get you and your vehicle ready for winter.

Travel Tip #1 Get Your Car Serviced

Before you ever hit the road, stop by and visit us at Turn Key Automotive for us to give your car or truck a quick once over to make sure it’s ready for winter.  Check out our coupons page for a little extra savings too. 

Just like when you’re playing Santa, you check your list twice and make sure you’re ready.  The same applies when you’re planning your winter road trip.  You’ll want to check when your scheduled service is due and if it makes sense to get your oil changed a few miles early.  What specifically do you need to look for in your pre-trip service?

Fluids: A winter road trip can be tough on your car’s system.  Harsh weather, stop & go traffic, and freezing conditions can add a lot of wear to your vehicle.  Your first and best defense it ensuring your vehicle’s fluids are clean and ready. Check your oil, transmission, and brake fluid before any winter trip.

Battery Health: Cold weather is the sworn enemy of a battery.  A healthy battery in Myrtle Beach’s mild winters can die overnight in the colder northern climates.  Just because you can start your engine here, doesn’t mean you will be able to crank it up on vacation.  Have your mechanic check your battery before any big trip to make sure you’ve got the starting power you need.

Coolant system: Your cooling system has to work overtime in the winter.  From hoses becoming brittle to engines freezing, you’ll want to make sure you have the antifreeze, hoses, and radiator checked for your big trip.

Windshield wipers: It’s easy to forget how great new wind shield wipers are, your current ones have very slowly degraded and don’t do the job they once did, and you may not even notice it. How do you know, if your wiper blades are over a year old, its time for new ones. The good news is wiper blades are cheap and replacing them is an easy vehicle DIY project.  Don’t let snow, ice, and dark rainy conditions impair your vision.  Get new wipers before your winter road trip.

Tires: How’s the tread on those tires?  If they’re getting low, you may want to consider a new set for your Christmas gift. New tires, with improved tread, will ensure you can stop quickly, handle wet roads, and get to your destination safely.

Travel Tip #2: Have An Emergency Kit.

If you read our recent article on HowTo Build A Car Disaster Kit, you’ve already got this one covered.  If you haven’t click here to get an in-depth view of what you need to always have in your car or truck.  Think of your emergency kit as a way to tackle these three common roadside issues:

Getting out of Trouble: Make sure you have jumper cables, small shovel, sand or kitty litter for traction, and flares to handle the issues that have you stuck on the side of the road.

Handling Little Emergencies: It’s amazing what a few simple tools can do to make life easier.  Things like a flashlight, small knife, ice scraper, and rope can solve little issues before they ever become problems.

KeepingYourself Comfortable and Safe: When it’s cold out you can expect to be stuck in a car for a while on a road trip.  Make sure you’ve got blankets, energy bars, water, waterproof matches, first-aid kit, and gloves handy.

Travel Tip #3: Get Your Interior Ready

Yeah, any road trip ends up with a pretty dirty car but starting with a clean vehicle can make the trip much better. Make sure you set yourself up for success so your trip goes smoothly by having a trash can (or dedicated bag), clean interior windows, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies. If you really want to make your interior ready, consider a set of all weather floor mats that will keep your car or truck’s fabric flooring clean.

Travel Tip #4: Chargers, Entertainment, & Games Rock On A Road Trip.

Keep your passengers and kids entertained on a long trip. Not only will games, movies, books and fidgety items keep your passengers happy, it will also keep them from distracting the driver! Pack these fun items to have a great trip:

  • Chargers, lots of chargers
  • Games
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Puzzles
  • Car-friendly arts and crafts

Travel Trip #5. Do a Little Research

Your winter road trip will take you on roads you’re not used to traveling and through locales that you usually don’t see. Before you venture off into the great unknown, do a little research to be ready for the adventure.

Know state laws: It’s easy to forget that road laws can change dramatically once you cross state lines. It can really be worth your time to know the cell phone laws, unusual traffic rules, and any items that maybe prohibited in the places you’ll be going. 

Map your route: Don’t just rely on your GPS to get you to your holiday destination.  GPS can be wrong and phones can die.  We at Turn KeyAutomotive have a Rule of Three when traveling

  • Three devices for directions (paper map, vehicle GPS, phone apps like WAZE)
  • Three paths to our destination
  • Three places to stop along the way.

Check the weather: Sure, you’ve already checked the weather at your destination, but how about along the way?  Spend a few minutes scoping out the weather scene along your route so you don’t run into any surprises.

Still have questions?  We’re here to help.  Give us a call at 843-293-6793 or Contact Us if you need help getting your car or truck ready for winter. 

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