Prepare Your Car for Winter
Do you have a checklist? Here’s one that’s easy and won’t cost a lot.
Seems like autumn just rolled in and now it’s about to roll on out. Winter’s great frozen air horn roars as it rumbles down on us. Start preparing for the long, cold, wet months ahead. One of the most important things – but often the last thing on people’s lists – to prep for winter is your car. Minnesota winters are not for the faint of heart, and Mother Nature will take any chance she gets to remind you who’s boss. The elements and random mishaps can combine to create situations that in winter have the potential to become dangerous or deadly very quickly. Don’t leave things to chance – there are many things you can do to prepare for a Minnesota winter. Here are a few things to check on your car to be sure you’re ready and don’t get stranded on that frozen road less travelled.
- Check and fill fluids
- Check battery
- Check tires and brakes
- Replace windshield wipers
- Coolant system flush
✔ Check all fluids and flush the cooling system.
The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended, but check your car owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
Overheating in engine is the most common cause of mechanical breakdown, summer or winter. Coolant (also called anti-freeze) protects your engine from freezing just as much as it protects from overheating. Coolant’s effectiveness can diminish over time, causing the radiator to rust and corrode. The cooling system can also become blocked with crud from oil, grease, scale, material decomposition, and other contaminants. So we highly recommend getting your cooling system serviced and checked at least once a year. What better time than right before winter!
✔ Have your battery checked with professional equipment.
A weak battery will only get worse and die in cold weather, possibly leaving you stranded. AAMCO battery service and diagnostics can determine the status and reliability of your battery. In most cases, the battery does not give warning signs before it fails. A battery three years old or older should be checked – and probably replaced.
✔ Check your tires & brakes.
Tires and brakes don’t last forever. Check your tires for proper inflation, tread depthInsert a penny into the tire tread with Lincoln's head down. If you can see the top part of his head or forehead, your tires are wearing out., and abnormal wear. If your alignment is off or suspension system is worn out or having problems, your tires will wear out faster and unevenly.
Have your brakes checked for wear – rotors, calipers, pads, pistons. Have the whole system checked to avoid any safety issues. Reliable brakes won’t help you stop faster on ice, but will help you maintain control of your car through winter conditions, such as slush or snowpack.
✔ Replace windshield wipers.
Don’t just check your windshield wipers – replace them. Unless you just replaced the blades a month or two ago, just put on new ones and know that you’re ready for whatever the weather or traffic throw at your windshield. Be sure to keep a jug of windshield wiper fluid in your trunk.
✔ Get a tune-up.
A tune-up is a good idea, especially if you haven’t had your car serviced in a while. It’s a cost-effective way to cover the bases and find anything that might cause problems when you least need them. Some basic fixes and maintenance steps can be done in a tune-up that will give you some peace of mind in the winter months.
- Installation of new spark plugs
- Idle speed adjustment, timing, choke, throttle linkage, spark plug wires, distributor cap
- Comprehensive performance check for any drivability issues or computer system trouble codes.
- 36-point Vehicle Courtesy Check to ensure critical systems are in good working order.
Other Things to Check
✔ Check heater, defroster, and A/C.
A car’s heater core is a radiator-like system that heats the cabin of your car. Hot coolant from the vehicle’s engine is passed through a pipe that winds around the core. Fins attached to the core tube serve to increase surface area to facilitate the transfer of heat to air. The air is forced over the fins by a fan and passed into the passenger compartment, keeping you nice and toasty warm.
Along with this system is the defroster and the air conditioning. Both of these systems are key to keeping the interior of your car fog-free, as well as mitigate ice and frost buildup on the exterior of the windows. If the air conditioning is not functioning properly, it won’t be able to perform one of its key functions – dehumidify the passenger cabin.
✔ Check and replace filters, such as oil, air, fuel, transmission, and positive crankcase ventilation (PCV).
What the heck are all these filters and where did they come from all of a sudden? All of these filters are important and should be checked or replaced as part of a regular maintenance schedule.
AAMCO Minnesota Can Help You Get Your Car Ready for Any Season
Take it easy and take your car to AAMCO Minnesota. We’ve got easy locations in and around the Twin Cities that will help you get ready for the arrival of big rig Winter.
If you have questions about your car’s road readiness, or about car repair and maintenance topics, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Call, drop by, or book an appointment online with your friendly local Minnesota AAMCO mechanics. We’ve got service centers in
1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118
AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.
1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109
People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.
Convenient payment plans available.
940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432
At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.
Convenient payment plans available.
10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343
At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.
Convenient payment plans available.
5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429
Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.