10 car things to do for winter

2012-03-29 20:27

As the South African winter season prepares to settle in, take a look at some maintenance tips to keep your car in top condition over the cold/wet months.

Chrysler's parts and accessories arm, Mopar, has prepared a number of tips to help you to remember the bits that may need looking over - whether you own a Chrysler or not.

1 Check brakes
Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components and it’s vital to replace pads or shoes before the drums or rotors become damaged. Check your cars pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and the parking brake to prevent problems.

2 Check tyres
A safe ride starts where the rubber meets the road, so be sure to check air pressure on all tyres, including the spare (if you have one), as incorrect tyre pressures lead to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage.

Inspect the entire surface of the tyre, including the tread and sidewall, for uneven or irregular wear, which may also indicate additional maintenance is required.

3 Check wiper blades
While many parts of South Africa fall within winter rainfall areas, those in traditionally dry zones should also be prepared for inexpected showers.  Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in all conditions.

4 Check head- and tail lamps, indicators and hazard lights
Head and tail lamps play an important role in safe driving, especially at nighttime, or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect all exterior lamps and lights to ensure they are in proper working order and correctly aligned.

5 Check air filter
The air filter protects the engine from airborne contaminants and poor air flow within the engine hinders performance and can lead to greater fuel consumption. Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.

6 Check oil

Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and the engine oil level should be checked often. The oil should be being changed and replenished regularly since low or dirty oil may have dire consequences on how the engine and its components perform.

7 Check all fluid levels

Vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked often and changed at factory-recommended intervals to make sure they're fresh and filled since dirty and low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle.

8 Check engine belts, hoses and fuel filter
Belts and hoses under the bonnet play an important part in the proper function and performance of the engine. To prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage, replace belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Checking and replacing the fuel filter is also key to ensuring that the engine is running at its optimal level and maximises fuel economy.

9 Check battery
When checking the battery, be sure to look for corroded terminals, and inspect for a bulging or cracked case. The last thing you need to fail in winter is your engine-starter.

10 Check shocks and struts

Every season is pothole season in South Africa, so shocks and struts should be checked regular since they are vital to a smooth ride. They may also affect a number of related parts on your vehicle and tired shocks and struts could impact your car’s handling and tyre life.