Is your car ready for winter? The average age of a vehicle in the United States is 11 years, which means thatmany cars on the road today have been through more than a few winters. Fortunately, most cars manufactured in the last 15 years are built to withstand the test of time – and weather – provided they receive the proper care. This is especially important during the winter months when cold weather can take a toll on older vehicles. Simple maintenance and good driving habits can help lengthen vehicle life, prevent costly repairs, and most importantly, ensure that you arrive at your winter destinations safe and sound. Here's a six-point checklist for winterizing your high-mileage vehicle:
Check the antifreeze (coolant)
Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun/AP
Connor Larson (left) laughs as Karlie Pelczar works to dig her car out from the snow Tuesday in Flagstaff, Ariz. The first step to winterize your car is to check the antifreeze and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
The engine cooling system should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and boiling over. Keep the cooling system operating at peak performance by following the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing the antifreeze (flush and fill). In addition to changing the antifreeze, pressure testing the cooling system on an older vehicle may expose a minor leak before it becomes a major problem. Antifreeze testers are available at your local auto-parts store to test the mixture, and most repair shops charge a minimal fee for pressure testing – some shops will do it for free.