Winter Vehicle Maintenance Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

By: Natasha Sweatte Email
By: Natasha Sweatte Email

This chill coincides with the busiest travel season of the year, with Thanksgiving days away. Triple A estimates 3.1 million travelers will hit Texas highways this week. Safety experts suggest four vehicle maintenance tips to ensure extra safety before families hit the road.

Rick Pilger, owner of Pilger's Tire and Auto Center said it's crucial to make sure the antifreeze level is sufficient. He said when checking, aim to get a mixture ratio of 50-percent water, 50-percent coolant. Pilger said ideally, the gauge should go down to -34 degrees.

"It's a simple process to do this," said Pilger. "This is an antifreeze tester and this is the reservoir tank on the car and you just suck the antifreeze up into the bottle, and you can read the level."

Next, Pilger says a battery will usually last up to three years, but the combination of the colder weather and an aging car can contribute to a dead battery. Before a long road trip, Pilger suggests putting it through a simple test, either with your own test equipment or at your local auto shop.

"It just hooks up to the battery, you know, negative to negative, positive to positive," said Pilger.

While many cars now-a-days tell you if your tire is running low on air, Pilger says a drop in temperature naturally causes tires to lose air pressure.

"I think it's every six degrees you lose one pound of pressure. You would always use the cold inflation pressure, regardless of what the temperature is outside," Pilger advised.

Those recommended figures should be displayed on the side of your car door.

Lastly, Pilger says to check your windshield wiper blades before heading out, as being able to properly wipe away rain and ice can guarantee a safer ride.

While you're perfecting the maintenance of your car, it's also a great time to make sure you have essential items, like an ice scraper, umbrella, first aid kit and even an extra coat and blankets in your car.

Travel surveys show most drivers plan to leave Wednesday and come back this Saturday, so those are the days the roads are expected to be most congested.

For the latest road conditions and safety tips, click on the links below.

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