How to keep your car running this winter
by The Cheap Chick Erin Schneider
Check systems affected by cold weather directly:
1. Battery charge. If your battery is 3 years old or older, consider replacing it now, before your car stalls out somewhere and requires an expensive tow.
Safety Tip: Even if your battery is new and fully charged, be sure to have jumper cables in your car or truck at all times. They cost less than $25 at Target.
2. Tire pressure: Check your tires at minimum once a week. According to Tire Rack.com, for every 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature, your tire's inflation pressure will change by about 1 pound per square inch. You can check your tire pressure with an inexpensive tire gauge purchased at your local gas station.
Pro Tip: Places like Tires Plus will perform a courtesy check on your tires and battery when you get your oil changed.
And the cold air could be masking a bigger problem with your tires! The low pressure could also be a slow leak caused by tire damage. I recommend Sam's Club, Costco, Walmart and Fleet Farm for inexpensive and good tires.
Pro Tip, too: Don't buy high end tires if your car is on its last legs. If you are only going to be driving it for another 40,000 miles or less, don't purchase tires with a 60,000 mile warranty.
3. Wiper blades. Are your windshield wiper blades leaving streaks? Rule of thumb, your blades should be changed out every 6 months. Good all-season blades should run $30 or less, and can be replaced during your next oil change.
Stock up on necessary fluids:
4. To avoid fuel lines freezing, keep your gas tank at least half full or above. Now is not the time to scrimp on gas!
5. Stock up on inexpensive windshield washer fluid. Fill your car's reservoir, and keep an extra bottle in your trunk. Non-freeze washer fluid costs less than $3 a bottle.
Visibility Tip: It is too cold to wash your car, but you should still keep your windows clean. Salt builds up and reduces visibility, which can lead to an expensive car accident.
Paint Tip: When the temps do warm up above 5 degrees, you should get the salt washed off your car. Also, splurge on getting your car waxed, which forms a protective barrier and helps prevent rust from salt buildup. A wash and wax should cost less than $20 at your local gas station.
Keep a safety kit in your car:
1. For you – extra boots, mittens, hat, scarf, and blankets.
2. To get you out of jam – jumper cables to jump-start your car, and kitty litter to sprinkle over ice to provide extra traction.
For more tips and tricks, visit http://www.thecheapchick.com