There’s nothing quite like winter to turn your car or 4x4’s underlying issues or idiosyncrasies into genuine problems.
For most Australians winter doesn't mean below zero temperatures or ice and snow, however, there are quite a few things to still check on your vehicle to help you get through Winter with as little or no car troubles at all.
Drops in temperature tend to bring underlying issues to the surface and there's probably none more frustrating than when your vehicle just refuses to start, or when it finally does it runs rough. Paying attention to any early warning signs before the real cold snap arrives means you're more likely to stay out of trouble and cruise into Spring and Summer.
Things you can do to help get your car ready for winter!
Get your battery charge checked to minimise the risk of starting failure.
According to some Roadside Assistant sources, Batteries failing increase by 50% during winter and who wants to be stuck out in the cold trying to get the car to start while trying to get home after a long day.
If your vehicle is getting harder to start or your battery is showing signs of failure, age or wear, best get it checked by a professional and ask them to check that your Alternator is functioning correctly as well as your battery is needed to deliver the initial charge to kick in your starter motor, and your alternator is designed to recharge your battery whilst the engine is running.
The plus side is that Power Autos’ checks your battery and alternator as a mandatory check during every service.
Keep your fuel tank at least 1/2 full or more to reduce the opportunity for condensation to build up.
Did you know that water condensation can form on the inner walls and drip down into the fuel? Just as water droplets form on the outside of a cold glass as condensation, if there is enough air (empty space) present in your fuel tank, water condensation can also form on the inner walls.
Check your tyre pressure and tread depth to ensure you get maximum contact with the road for all weather conditions.
Keeping your tyres correctly inflated and ensuring you have the required and legal tread depth will ensure you have the maximum area of contact with the road surface to provide traction and optimal braking distance. You can also contribute to your fuel economy by correctly maintaining your tyres.
Check your Wiper blades and Windscreen washer levels to help ensure you can maintain a clear vision in all driving conditions.
Your windscreen is the only thing between your eyes and the outside environment, so it makes sense to keep it as clean as possible.
That's where your wipers come in. If your wipers make an annoying chattering sound as they drag across your windscreen or leave areas of glass that appear smeared or even untouched from lack of contact, then their time is up.Your wiper rubbers should appear smooth and free of gouges, splits and cracks.
Troubleshooting Tips if your car is having issues:
Get your spark plugs checked and change if necessary to help your vehicles overall reliability and performance.
If it has been a while, you've missed a service or you simply can't remember when your spark plugs were last changed, then its time to consider getting them inspected before winter sets in.
Get your diesel glow plug system checked and change them if necessary to help your engines cold starting reliability.
Glow Plugs need to generate the optimal amount of heat (glow) required to efficiently ignite the combustion chamber.
Slow or laboured starting, or not starting at all can be a sure sign it's time to replace one or more of your glow plugs. Engine miss, rough idle, hesitation and lots of white smoke until the engine warms up are all common signs of failing glow plugs.
Get your Ignition leads checked and change if necessary to help ensure your spark plugs are receiving optimal and consistent current.
Ignition leads (aka Spark plug leads or wires) perform the critical task of carrying electrical power from the ignition system to each spark plug.
As leads age they can crack, split and generally lose their insulation quality delivering erratic levels of power to the plugs. A failing lead can produce some similar symptoms to a failing spark plug so it's important to have it diagnosed first.
The most commonly experienced symptoms of a bad ignition lead include engine miss, hesitation or surging and a significant loss of power. Of course, if your leads show any clear signs of age damage then it's time for replacement regardless. Even if they are causing only minor symptoms now, there is potential for more significant issues to occur around the corner.
Your engine needs to deliver both balanced and responsive power when it's not performing as it should.
The good news is that like the spark plugs, ignition leads are also very affordable considering how crucial they really are.
Get your starter motor checked to help reduce the risk of being caught unexpectedly by a non-start breakdown.
A starter motor uses electricity from the battery to jolt your engine to life, a lot like a set of paramedic defibrillators do for your heart!
Cold weather is often a true test of your vehicles ignition system, and if it's been behaving a little worse during the warmer months you can pretty much bet it will let you down at the most inconvenient time possible in the cold.
If all you hear is a clicking sound when you first turn the key rather than the comforting sound of your engine coming to life, then it's time to look at your battery or starter motor. If you experience the dreaded 'click click click' and all your lights and overall electrics such as indicators, wipers, power windows etc are all working, then there's a good chance you're up for a new starter motor.
Get your Alternator checked to ensure your Battery is being sufficiently charged while you're vehicle is driving.
The alternator's job is to recharge your battery while the engine is running, and maintain the necessary power for running all necessary electrics in the vehicle, pretty straight forward as long as it's working as expected.
But, if you've had a few issues with starting your engine or running the electrics (lights, windows, indicators, etc.) during the pre-winter months then there's a fairly high chance that the cold won't be kind to you or your vehicle. As the alternator and the battery are designed to work together when one side or both starts letting the team down you need to find out which one it is as soon as possible.
Have your Cabin filter checked to ensure it's clean and debris free to help avoid allergens entering and unpleasant odours forming.
Cabin filters are often 'out of sight and out of mind' and quite a lot of drivers don't even know they have one!
Cabin filters perform the very valuable function of keeping the air in the cabin clean and are designed to trap irritants such as dust, pollen, smog, mould spores as well as general small debris like bits of leaves.
If it’s time to book an appointment with a mechanic, don’t brave the cold, call Power Autos’ on 4982 8696 as we offer a mobile, 7 day a week and after-hours service so you can have your car fixed whilst you're in the comfort of your own home!