feature friday winter vehicle maintenance simone performance newmarket

Professional Tips for Preparing & Storing Your Vehicle Over Winter

Fall is finally here , soon it will be winter and we’ve reached that sad time to put away the summer cars. But it’s not as simple as pulling into the driveway, throwing the cover over it and walking away. Proper maintenance is necessary even when storing your vehicle. This means getting the fuel tanks filled up, putting in fuel conditioners, topping up all your oil levels, and even changing the oil if it’s due.

You should also make sure your air filter and cabin filters are all cleaned up and your tire pressures are topped up before you store them. Most vehicles take about 50lbs of pressure but check your manufacturer’s specs to make sure. A little storage tip – always use a 2×12 piece of plywood, cut into two feet sections to drive my car on top of to keep it from sitting right on the concrete. This gives your vehicle a nice bit of cushion over the winter.

Winter Readiness Starts With Tires

It’s only a matter of time before snow will be on its way. There’s already been reported snowfall in other provinces, and its only October. We all know how essential snow tires are, but before you get them mounted on your vehicle make sure you take a good look at them. If they’re on rims already, be sure to inflate them fully and then check them over for any possible leaks. Be careful to give special attention to the area right around the rims as it is susceptible to leaks. And because they’re winter tires, make sure they’re not cracked or showing too much wear and tear.

This is also a good time to check the dates on your tires. There is a D.O.T. number which is the manufacturing date on each tire and you should see the D.O.T. followed by a long number. The last four digits are what you want to be concerned with. They are the actual manufacturing date. For example, if your tire says 14 14, it means your tire was manufactured on the fourteenth week of 2014. That would mean they’re already over four years old heading into 2019.  So check the tire treads, and check the dates on your tires. It’s a very important thing to do with your vehicle to get it ready for the winter.

Winter Vehicle Maintenance Inspection (V.M.I.) Packages

If you’re not the type to check your levels regularly, we recommend a Vehicle Maintenance Inspection (VMI). It doesn’t take a lot of time and can be done while swapping over your summer tires. Big twenty point inspections are worth it, whether you do it at the dealership level or a small shop. An inspection will make sure the battery is in great condition by doing an AVR test on its electronic load. Testers are available at most shops now, and it will give you a printout to let you know what kind of condition your battery is in. It will also check all your belts, hoses, and coolant strength. Make sure you have at least -30 coolant in your radiator.

Importance of Checking Your Power Steering Fluid

And while you’re getting things checked out,  thermostat operation is worth looking into. It’s a bit of a tough one, but basically you need to plug your car into a DDL connector, then you can actually see your engine temperature, and see what it’s running like. Check your fluids, they’re very important, especially power steering fluid. Everybody forgets about powering steering an it’s the one that often gets overlooked by other shops. Everybody thinks to do a transmission fluid flush and an engine oil flush – these are your differentials and they are very important, but the power steering is  one of the hottest fluids in your vehicle.  If you still have regular power steering in your car (non-electronic), get your technician to check it.  The smell is important – if it smells burnt, it probably should be replaced.

Don’t Forget Your Brakes

Another thing to check for is your brake fluid. Nine times out of ten when you flush your brake fluid you’ll find moisture in it. If there is moisture in your brake fluid it will give you a soft brake pedal. And it can freeze in the winter time which will give you a hard brake pedal and you won’t be able to stop your vehicle. We always get the complaint over the winter, my brake pedal feels really hard. When we do the test on the brake fluid for moisture we find there’s over five to ten percent of moisture in the brake fluid. Some moisture makes sense because that’s the fluids’ job, to absorb moisture and get rid of contamination.  But you want to make sure your brakes work properly when you really need them.

The Little Things: Cabin Filters & Wiper Blades

To be fully winter ready make sure to replace your cabin filters, and your windshield wiper blades. Wiper blades typically only last around six months in our environment because there’s so much dust in the air. Dust gets stuck to your windshield and it acts like sandpaper on your wiper blades which is why they don’t last as long as they used to.  Remember to do a spot check of all your lights and taillights – that’s a priority. Have somebody walk around the back of the vehicle to check all the brake lights. I was behind a pickup truck the other day and had to get out at a red light to tell him he only had one functional brake light. One day you will get hit in the rear end and you won’t know why.

So that’s about it. Get your vehicle winter ready and make sure everybody stays safe this year. Contact Simone Performance to set up your winter Vehicle Maintenance Inspection today – before the snow flies. Being prepared ensures you and your vehicle will have a safe winter on the roads.

Simone Performance is Located at 200 Mulock Drive, Newmarket, ON.

Call us today at 905-853-1677


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