Sparks Auto Repair

Time to Winterize your vehicle!

Winter is soon to arrive! Don’t get stranded in bad weather. Your vehicle should be inspected and prepared for winter driving conditions.

Start by supplying your vehicle with an emergency kit. Your emergency supplies should include the following items… First Aid Kit, Space Blanket, chemical hand warmers, chemical light sticks, a flash light, Safety warning triangles or flares, waterproof matches or a lighter. These items are available at most sporting/outdoor supply stores. Carry tire chains, an ice/snow scraper, extra gloves, a blanket, water and some nonperishable foods. Make sure you always take a coat for yourself and your passengers no matter how short your travel. You may have to leave your vehicle unexpectedly.

Should your vehicle break down, try to get to the nearest exit. If this is not possible, try to pull off of the pavement to the farthest right hand side of the road. Never park in a traffic lane. Always turn on your emergency flashers so other drivers can see your vehicle. It is not wise to remain in your vehicle or stand near your vehicle because other drivers might assume your car is moving and mistakenly drive into you. If the roads are slick, they may slide out of control and into you or your vehicle. If you do get out of your car, always get away from your vehicle and behind the guardrail if you can.

Some preventative maintenance to your vehicle can save you from unexpected break downs. Items on your vehicle to have inspected include tires and tire pressures. You can check your own tread depth by putting a penny in between the tread on your tires, the tread depth should be a least above Lincoln’s head when inserted upside down. It is always a good idea to run mud and snow rated tires in the winter. You can tell your tires are rated for mud and snow by a symbol M&S or M/S embossed on the sidewall of the tire.

Cold weather is very hard on your vehicles battery. You should have your starting and charging system tested to insure you won’t have a dead battery when you need your car most. You should check the condition of the battery terminals and cables. If you find any corrosion on your battery you can clean the exterior of the battery with a mixture of baking soda and water. Pour this solution on the battery and let stand a couple of minutes then rinse with water. The acid coming off the battery will damage concrete or asphalt. Use a drain pan to catch the run off and dispose of properly. The battery cables will need to be removed to clean the connection between the battery post and cable terminals. Remove the negative battery cable first and reinstall the negative battery cable last. This will prevent shorting the battery when removing or installing the positive battery cable. Always wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when working on your battery.

It is difficult to see when driving in bad weather. Always completely scrape ice and snow from ALL the windows. Never drive with partially cleared or partially defrosted windows. With water and sand on the roads this will surely make a mess of your windshield. Replace your wiper blades and make sure your washers are working correctly. Install non-freezing window wash solution. If you notice your headlights getting dimmer, they are covered with dirt or snow. Take some time out to clean your headlights. This will help you see better and make you more noticeable to oncoming traffic.

Freezing weather can damage your vehicles cooling system. Be sure the engine coolant is tested and rated for below zero degrees. Check your belts and hoses. If you see any cracking or fraying of the belts it is time for replacement. If you see any leakage or notice excessive swelling of hoses it is time for replacement. Make sure your heater and defroster are working correctly.

All of these items and many more should be inspected on a regular basis. If you do not wish to perform this maintenance and inspections on your own, have this performed by a professional.

Remember, four wheel drive and all wheel drive vehicles are not designed so you can drive faster in the snow and rain. These vehicles will certainly provide safer driving conditions only if you drive them safely. Slow down when roads are slick and provide more distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Keep in mind that black ice is always a hazard during winter driving. Also remember that bridges will freeze sooner than the road way.

Check road condition reports before you travel. If conditions are severe, postpone your travels if possible. Nevada road condition reports are available on line at or by phone at 1-877-NVROADS,
. California road condition reports are available on line at .

Following these guidelines will help you have a safe winter driving season. These tips are brought to you by Scotty’s Transmissions and Scotty’s Lube Pro’s a BBB member located at 1510 Glendale Avenue in Sparks, two blocks east of Rock Blvd.