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Avoid Common Vehicle Problems this Winter

Posted at Fri, Nov 2, 2018 1:50 PM

Ready to handle the snow in Bismarck? Even if you don't have a big F-150 you can drive safely this winter!Ready for winter? One of the worst things that can happen to any North Dakotan driver is being unprepared, because it can get pretty scary out there once the snow starts blowing! Taking just a few hours to winterize your vehicle will put your mind at ease and help you avoid the tow truck—or the ditch. We're happy to help you winterize your vehicle, so feel free to schedule a service appointment!

Here are the parts of your vehicle you need to pay special attention to this winter. 

 

Tires

Check your tire pressure! When the temperature outside drops, air pressure changes which can make your tire’s PSI also drop. That usually means you need to go air up your tires. Remember that a well-inflated tire is far safer than an under-inflated one.

Your tire’s tread depth is also something you should take into consideration.

Make sure it can pass the penny test at the very least, and replace your tires with entirely new winter tires if you plan on braving thicker snows, ice, and especially if you plan to take your vehicle off the beaten path this winter. Winter tires are built of especially thick material that holds air better, and they usually have tread that’s specially built for challenging traction situations.

Check out our current service specials to see if you can save on your tire checkup!

Save yourself some trouble by winterizing your vehicle!


Under the Hood

Pop the hood and make sure that your battery and electrical system are ready to handle the cold. Batteries that are over five years old need to be replaced before the cold sets in, but even younger batteries should get a once-over by a mechanic so that you know your car will start early on those cold winter mornings.

Check your antifreeze levels. High-quality coolant and a 50-50 solution could make all the difference between a safe winter and one filled with freezing and rust. While you’re checking out those fluid levels, make sure your wiper fluid has a de-icing solvent included. Check your wiper blades to make sure they’re ready to push thick snow or melting ice out of your line of sight.

Also remember:

  • Change your oil! Winter weight oil is a great option to reduce engine strain this winter.
  • Use an additive if you drive a diesel. Gas can get really sludgy once the temp drops below zero. An additive can keep your diesel engine running smoothly!
  • Check your brakes before you have to drive on icy roads!

Ryan Else, the parts and services director at Eide Ford, says that giving your car an entire once-over is extremely helpful before winter sets in, because "cold weather seems to bring out problems in vehicles."

We offer a free multi-point inspection to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road ahead, and we will always check with you before performing a service. Make an appointment to get your free inspection or see our current specials right here.

Other Prep

Do you have an emergency kit ready for the winter? It’s worth having one just in case you get stuck!

Include these winter necessities in your kit:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Blanket
  • Road Map and Compass
  • Extra Clothing and Footwear
  • Paper Towel or Rags
  • Sand, Road Salt or non-clumping Kitty Litter
  • Flashlight with Extra Batteries
  • Emergency Food—anything that won’t spoil like granola bars, nuts or chocolate
  • Ice Scraper and Snow brush
  • Backup battery to charge your cell phone
  • Candle in a deep tin
  • Waterproof matches
  • Shovel
  • Booster cables
Handle icy roads with care so you can travel safely this winter in Bismarck!

While we’re talking about safe road practices- when was the last time you brushed up on your safe winter driving tactics? Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Imagine there’s an egg behind your pedals. Don’t break the egg by stomping on the pedals, push down carefully so it can roll away safely.
  • Leave a larger-than-normal distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Icy roads are a recipe for disaster if you're going too fast, because it takes longer to slow down when you're driving on ice! Give yourself extra space so you can brake safely, should you need to. 
  • Keep your gas tank half full at all times. Ryan says keeping your tank close to fall keeps moisture from building up in your tank, which prevents freezing! He also points out that, you may need that gas to keep your car running for warmth if you get stuck!
  • Don’t rely on cruise control. Setting and forgetting is a recipe for disaster if you suddenly lose traction on black ice.

If this is your first North Dakotan winter, or even if you just need a full refresher, check out AAA’s winter driving tips.

And if you're ready to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter, schedule your multi-inspection appointment today!

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