Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather with Tips from CarMax
RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 4, 2006 -- As winter approaches, CarMax, Inc. , the nation's largest retailer of used cars, offers advice on how to make sure your car is ready for cold weather.
"Harsh winter weather can create real challenges for your vehicle," said Todd Gartner, CarMax ASE Master Technician. "That is why it is so important to take the necessary steps to ready your car for the cold weather season."
CarMax's automotive service technicians offer these ten winterizing tips: 1. Check your anti-freeze. The best ratio of anti-freeze to water is 50/50. The number one cause of engine-related breakdowns is cooling system failure. Prevent this by having your cooling system flushed every two years. 2. Replace your windshield wiper blades twice a year. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with freeze resistant wiper fluid (plain water and standard windshield washer fluid will freeze) and keep an extra gallon in the trunk. 3. Check your battery. If the battery is more than three years old, have a technician test its capacity. Have the alternator tested at the same time. Make sure the battery terminal ends are corrosion-free. 4. Check your tire pressure. Check the pressure when the tires are cold, and set the pressure to the car manufacturer's recommendations for your specific tires. When the weather turns cold, the air inside the tire will contract and the pressure will drop. 5. Look at the tread depth on your tires. Put a penny headfirst between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln's hair, it's time to replace the tire. 6. Check your spare tire. Make sure it has the proper air pressure and tread depth and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in the vehicle. 7. Check that your lights, heater, and defrosters are working properly. 8. Check all rubber hoses and belts to ensure they are not damaged. Coolant hoses wear from the inside out. Inspect for heavy cracks or chunking in the belts. Alternatively, have a professional inspect all hoses and belts. 9. Have your car's brake system checked if you haven't had the system inspected in the last six months. 10. Assemble a winter emergency kit for the trunk of your vehicle. It should include a blanket, extra boots and gloves, an ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, flares, a small snow shovel, a flashlight, kitty litter (for traction when stuck in the snow), and bottled water.
"In addition, slower is always better when driving in winter weather," Gartner said. "Driving slower gives both you and your car more time to react during inclement weather."
Along with following these tips, it's also important to read your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommended service schedules. Not only
will these tips keep you safe in the winter months but they can also improve your vehicle's mileage while also preventing future repairs down the road.
CarMax, a FORTUNE 500 company, and one of the FORTUNE 2006 "100 Best Companies to Work For," is the nation's largest retailer of used cars. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., CarMax currently operates 71 used car superstores in 34 markets. CarMax also operates seven new car franchises, all of which are integrated or co-located with its used car superstores. During the twelve month period ended August 31, 2006, the company sold 311,241 used cars, which is 94% of the total 330,296 vehicles the company retailed during that period. For more information, access the CarMax website at http://www.carmax.com/.