MIAMI COUNTY — Despite the unusual spikes in temperature this winter, the cold still persists.
Preparing your car for winter should be done well before bad weather hits, said Matthew Pisano, manager at Piqua Express Auto Care, 1608 Covington Ave. “It should definitely be done prior to winter time, like in September or October,” he said.
“Winterization, to me, is just normal, general maintenance, things many people honestly neglect to do,” Pisano said, listing such maintenance tasks as making sure the coolant is below freezing temperature and washer fluid is rated for negative temperatures.
Piqua Express Care is one of three locations that make up Express Tire Auto Centers — others are in Troy and Covington. The business offers a winterization package for $24.99, with additional charges if extra services — for instance, a coolant flush — are needed.
“Winterization is about making sure everything is up to par for the freezing months,” Pisano said.
To avoid unwanted car malfunctions this winter, keep up with winter car care no matter the age of the vehicle, “Make sure to follow up on oil changes and the antifreeze,” said Fred Pickering, owner of Ray’s Tune Up, 15 N. Oxford St. in Troy.
Pickering also suggested to have the brakes checked to ensure they are in good order.
It’s important to see if the battery and charging system have been tested by a professional, and pay attention to any corrosion of battery cables or terminals, according to a winter car care press release from AAA.
AAA also recommends to inspect drive belts for signs of fraying, along with engine hoses for leaks or cracks.
Keep up with the tire pressure, “As temperature drops, so will the pressure in the tires — typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit,” said AAA online.
They also advise to install snow tires, but regular all-season tires are adequate in light snow conditions as long as the tires have 3/32 inches of tread.
Lights, such as headlights, tail lights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights, and back-up lights should all be working properly to ensure safety in dark winter nights and during winter storms, if any are not working replace them as soon as possible.
Functioning windshield wipers, ones that completely clear the glass and do not leave spots or streaks are essential to make sure vision of the road is protected, replace the wipers that do not work.
Also check the washer fluid level and add a cleaning solution that includes antifreeze in it during winter months.
A cold weather kit to keep in the car is also important to have in case of emergency.
The kit should include a snow shovel, snow brush, an ice scraper, jumper cables, a flashlight, drinking water, snacks that last a while, extra clothes, blankets, towels, a tool kit, and a first aid kit, according to AAA.
“Make sure to have a number of a towing company in your car,” said Pickering, explaining that this is something most people don’t think about, but is useful in an emergency situation, along with having a mobile phone.
Elizabeth Schmitt is a student at the University of Cincinnati and an intern for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call. Belinda M. Paschal contributed to this story.