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  • Last modified 159 days ago (Jan. 17, 2019)

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Winter car maintenance holds yearlong implications

Staff writer

Keeping vehicles in good condition is important all year, but consequences change during the winter.

Not being prepared can leave drivers on the side of the road, unfit to take on the elements.

Important things to check include tire pressure and oil levels, Webster’s Auto owner Barry Allen said.

“You definitely want to be prepared if you’re out there and it starts getting some ice and snow,” he said. “You don’t want to get stranded or not be able to see.”

One of the advantages with an area like Marion County is that many drivers know about car maintenance and can tell when they need a mechanic, Allen said.

“Everyone’s pretty well informed,” he said. “We try to educate people somewhat, even with some of the ads we have.”

Allen expects a decrease in the number of oil changes during the winter because there is less travel than in warmer months. “No matter what time of year it is, you should keep up on your maintenance,” he said. “You just don’t have to do it quite as often this time of year.”

One of the most important details is checking tire pressure, which varies by car, but can be found on the vehicle’s decal. Ideal tire pressure is usually around 30 psi, but the pressure drops by one psi per 10 degrees colder, Hillsboro Ford service manager Kim Kaufman said.

In addition to having good pressure, it’s important to have tires with enough traction.

“You want to have a better tread on your tires,” he said. “That’s something you want to have in the summer, too but in the winter it might be a little more urgent.”

Keeping the car’s antifreeze filled is typically a winter task, but it is helpful year-round

“Most people just don’t think about it until it’s zero degrees outside,” Kaufman said.

Maintaining antifreeze levels throughout the year helps cool the car better and prevents corrosion.

Several of Kaufman’s points were not about vehicle maintenance as much as they were about being prepared when something goes wrong, like keeping an ice scraper and blankets on hand.

“If you’re out on the road and slide into a ditch or something goes wrong, they’re good to have,” he said.

As someone who keeps his car in a garage at home, it’s easy to forget about clearing snow when he parks outside, Kaufman said.

Last modified Jan. 17, 2019

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