By Kristin Boza
It’s safe to say that we all have a basic understanding of how we should maintain our cars, especially in a rough winter. But how often do we actually follow through? Take it from the pros: car care is nothing to put off. The following tips are from local car care experts, who are all on the BAPA card, a card with exclusive deals just for BAPA members. Support our local shops and ensure a safe driving experience all winter long.
Check Your Tires
Your tires are responsible for ensuring proper traction on icy and snowy roads, so make sure they are safe before severe winter weather hits. Pat Patton, owner of Patton Motor Service (10209 S. Western, 773-233-0660), suggests checking the grooves in the tire to see if you need new ones or not. “We can check your tires using a tire tread depth gauge, which will tell you how much life is actually left in the tire,” he said.
Also, check your tire pressure at least once a month, suggests Pete Cocarro, owner of Beverly Hills Garage (2043 95th St., 773-238-0540). “With winter upon us and the colder temperatures, tires will lose air pressure faster,” he said.
Check Your Wiper Blades
Chicago weather conditions are brutal, so be sure to replace old wiper blades, said Al Gonzalez, district manager of the Chicagoland area at Advance Auto Parts (1808 95th St., 773-672-4748). “At Advance, we offer free wiper blade installation on every set purchased. Also be sure to stock up on windshield washer solvent/de-icer. You’ll be surprised how much you use during the winter months, so be sure to not run out.”
“Washer fluid is really critical,” said Cocarro. “Some of the quick oil change facilities and some gas stations sell an inferior quality of washer fluid. The cheaper fluid will freeze when the temp gets below 20 degrees. This will result in not being able to clean the windshield and/or the windshield washer reservoir could possibly crack and become damaged due to the fluid freezing.”
Patton recommends changing your wiper blades two to three times a year. “It really depends on the weather and how often you use them,” he said. “But they can get dry-rotted from the sun and then won’t work well when you do need them.”
Perform a Battery Check
Be sure to check your battery to make sure it has enough power before it dies, leaving you stranded on a cold roadway. “At Advance Auto Parts, we offer free battery testing,” said Gonzalez. “Also, some vehicles require professional mechanic expertise, and we always refer our customers to the local repair shops that we are partners with.”
“I find most batteries can last three to four years,” said Patton. “If it’s three years old, you should probably change it.”