It’s always recommended to get a bumper-to-bumper check for your vehicle at least once a year and right before winter is actually a good time to do that. Here are some of the main things that should be checked before the cold weather really hits.
Getting the oil changed on a regular basis is always important. In the old days you used thicker oil in the summer and thinner oil in the winter, but now you just stick with the same oil year ‘round. Having your engine oil and other lubricants in good shape allows your vehicle to run smoothly in cold weather.
Antifreeze has additives built into it, which not only keeps it from freezing, but protects parts in the cooling system from corrosion as well. While newer antifreeze doesn’t need to be replaced as often as it used to, don’t assume that it lasts forever. Have your mechanic verify that it's in good shape.
Your brakes should be checked as well and not just the pads. Your antilock brake parts should be inspected to make sure it works properly just in case you slide on the slippery streets this winter.
Cold weather makes it harder for your engine to turn over, so you need to make sure that your battery and alternator are ready to go by having them tested. Also, have the mechanic check the battery cables for corrosion. Even a good battery will fail if the connections are not clean and tight.
Wiper blades are exposed to some of the nastiest conditions all year long. Think about it, they’re frozen to the windshield in the winter and almost melted to the windshield in the summer. They really should be replaced every fall so you’re ready for the sloppy winter weather.
Of course you tires should be checked as well. As the weather gets colder, the tire pressure will drop down a few pounds so check the tire pressure and add some air if needed. The tire tread should be examined by your mechanic as well because driving on sloppy streets with tires that are worn out could lead to an accident.
Belts and hoses wear out over time and need to be replaced. The heat in the engine compartment is tough on the rubber in these parts and if ignored they can fail without notice. Have them inspected by your mechanic to avoid a break down.
With the daylight hours getting shorter, you need to make sure your lights are all working. But this can be a do-it-yourself project. It’s a good idea to grab somebody else to help you check them out because they can be inside the vehicle trying all of the lights while you are checking them on the outside.