The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Winter Weather Driving Tips from Pep Boys

PHILADELPHIA--The Pep Boys Manny, Moe & Jack the nation's leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, reminds motorists to be ready for winter, which officially begins on December 22.

Winter driving conditions can take a toll on your car, affecting performance and safe operation. Pep Boys recommends scheduling vehicle preventive maintenance services, such as battery, tire, fluid, headlight, brake light and wiper checks, before winter sets in.

When the temperature drops and ice and snow make driving conditions hazardous, a properly functioning vehicle is critical to helping motorists drive safely, said Pep Boys Senior Vice President of Service Joe Cirelli. Planning ahead to take care of any small problems early can prevent them from growing into bigger more costly issues.

Visit your local Pep Boys store for a wide variety of automotive products and accessories, as well as dealer-quality service at affordable prices. This winter, Pep Boys offers $10 off a Winter Maintenance Package, which includes an oil change, tire rotation and coolant drain and fill, with an e-coupon available on Log onto or call 1-800-PEP-BOYS to find a store near you and to learn about Pep Boys convenient towing services.

Heres a checklist of things you can do to prepare for winter weather:

    1.  Ice scrapers and snowbrushes should be kept in the house if an
        overnight storm is predicted so that snow and ice can be
        removed without having to open the car. Keep a spare ice
        scraper inside the car as well.

    2.  Window and lock de-icer should also be kept in the house.
        Keeping additional de-icers at work is also a good idea.

    3.  Windshield wiper blades should clear the windshield without
        smearing or streaking. Replace the blades if, after cleaning
        the edges, they still do not clear the windshield. Specialized
        winter weather blades prevent snow from freezing the blade's
        mechanism, and are best when you anticipate driving in snow
        and icy weather.

    4.  Washer fluid should be topped-off frequently; don't wait until
        you run out of fluid and the windshield is covered with salt
        or sandy residue. Run the defroster with the heat to keep the
        fluid from freezing on the windshield in cold temperatures.

    5.  Keep your inside window surfaces clean; this reduces surface
        fog formation and speeds up the defogging process. Your air
        conditioning system typically works with your defroster and
        heater to dehumidify your car's cabin for quicker defogging of
        all windows. Have Pep Boys or another professional service
        shop check your A/C and heating systems to ensure proper

    6.  Engine coolant (or antifreeze) should be tested to ensure
        freeze protection to at least -30 degrees Fahrenheit. If the
        fluid has a rusty appearance or has been in the system for
        more than two years (always refer to your vehicle
        manufacturer's recommendations for service intervals), change
        the antifreeze to restore the freeze protection, rust
        inhibitors and water pump lubricant. A professional coolant
        flush will not only renew these important features, but will
        also help to remove any harmful materials that could cause
        premature water pump failure. While inspecting your cooling
        system, check the belts and hoses for any fraying or cracking
        and replace as necessary.

    7.  Engine oil should always be changed according to
        manufacturer's recommended intervals. If you drive in
        extremely cold climates, dusty areas, or operate a towing
        trailer, you may want to consider changing your oil as often
        as every 3,000 miles. As winter approaches, the oil's
        viscosity (thickness) is very important. Oil that does not
        have multiple weights in its viscosity rating (e.g. 5W-30)
        might make the engine crank too slow to start. Check your
        vehicle owner's manual for the recommended viscosity and type
        of oil for the coldest temperature expected in your region.
        For the ultimate protection, consider synthetic oil and a
        premium filter for your next oil change.

    8.  Automotive transmission fluid should register full on the
        dipstick with the engine running. Any signs of leaking or a
        brown, burnt appearance may require professional assistance.
        Transmissions are under a lot of strain in the winter,
        particularly if a vehicle gets stuck in the snow. If the
        manufacturer's recommended transmission fluid change is near,
        schedule the service as a preventive measure.

    9.  Lights, including high beams, turn signals, brake lights and
        license plate bulbs must be in working condition with
        headlights aimed correctly. Check all bulbs for broken
        filaments or any other visible damage. Keep the lights clean
        for maximum visibility.

    10. Pep Boys recommends that consumers replace their tires before
        the tread depth reaches 2/32". In areas subject to winter
        precipitation, Pep Boys recommends a tread depth of at least
        5/32" to safely and effectively navigate snow and ice-covered
        roads. An easy way to check if your tires are in need of
        replacement is a simple "penny test." Stick a penny upright
        in the tread. If you can still see the top of Lincoln's head,
        then the tire should be changed. If the tread is wearing
        differently between the edges and the middle tread, check the
        tire pressure; over- or under-inflation adversely affects a
        tire's wear patterns and performance. If one side is wearing
        more than the other, it may be time for a wheel alignment.
        Tire chains can be helpful in deep snow conditions; check
        local ordinances regarding their use.

    11. Brakes should be inspected at least twice a year, sooner if
        you have concerns with their operation. The best times are
        just before winter and summer to prevent problems in extreme

    12. Have the exhaust system inspected before winter. Exhaust
        system leaks can be lethal if you are stuck on ice or snow
        and the engine is running.

    13. Car batteries should be tested before winter sets in. If your
        battery is more than four years old, you may want to consider
        replacing it. The terminals and the charging and starting
        systems should also be inspected, cleaned and deemed
        corrosion-free. Rear window defoggers, lights and plug-in
        travel accessories put a drain on your charging and starting
        systems, particularly during winter.

    14. Tune up your engine periodically, particularly if it is not
        running perfectly. Otherwise, it will be harder to start
        during the winter. Have any problems diagnosed and repaired
        before the onset of winter.

    15. Keep an emergency kit in your trunk at all times. It should
        include battery jumper cables, a flashlight, matches and a
        "Help" sign. In colder climates, include a candle, winter
        blanket, high-energy snacks, shovel and kitty litter or sand
        for traction. Always travel with a cell phone in case of

About Pep Boys

Pep Boys has 593 stores and over 6,000 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico. Along with its vehicle repair and maintenance capabilities, the Company also serves the commercial auto parts delivery market and is one of the leading sellers of replacement tires in the United States. Customers can find the nearest location by calling 1-800-PEP-BOYS or by visiting