Apologies to those routinely read BD&S. I have been noticeably absent in the last few weeks. I have been working on several projects that I hope to have published very soon. Thank you for your patience, and hope to resume blogging on a regular basis soon enough.
The (obvious) bad news; summer is over. The worse news; winter is just around the corner. Growing up in the Midwest, I learned the importance of getting an automobile ready for what seems to be a too-lengthy winter driving season—especially since it seems like our cars tend to break down more in the cold months than the warmer ones.
Since I tend to be on the frugal side, I tend to save money where and how I can by making minor adjustments, repairs, and preparations myself (I don’t believe in chance; I believe in preparation).
Under optimum life circumstances, I tend to have 2 sets of tires, winter tires and summer tires. However, if this is not practical for those with tighter budgets than my own, keeping your tired properly inflated is the best advice. In the event that treads are worn, try to replace one (or possibly two) tires as a time, as money permits. The front tires should take priority over the rear one simply because most vehicles nowadays are front-or all-wheel drive. As a former truck driver, I would use a penny to check my tires’ treading. Put the penny inside the tires’ treads; if you can’t see Lincoln’s head, you have plenty of tread. If you can see it, then it’s time to buy new tires. If you aren’t cheap, a trip to a tire specialist/shop wouldn’t be too much to require for this. Many have no problem checking the condition of your tires for a nominal fee (or even free…shop around).
Fill, refill, or change any and all fluids. Water used in the summer in radiators should be replaced with antifreeze or a mixture of water and mostly antifreeze (about 70/30 level should do it). Definitely change the oil.
To save time, you might want to consider heading to a garage or repair shop. Many garages will perform a full vehicle inspection on fluids, the battery, and various hoses and belts and inform you where the shortcomings are, and what (possibly) needs to be changed and/or replaced (naturally, I do what I can myself to save money).
Although this might be a bit of an over-precaution for some, but I tend to pack emergency equipment in my car in the event that a simply drive from Points A to B do not become simple. I have a fire extinguisher (should be replaced and/or recharged every 1 or 2 years…yes, I have had a vehicle catch fire on me), a FULLY CHARGED cellphone, a heavy blanket, a first-aid kit, some what I call “emergency snacks,” and a small air-compressor (which has saved me twice in the last few weeks) that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Granted, we can’t anticipate every contingency, we can prepare for the ones that are most likely to rear up and make our winter driving inconvenient, and potentially costly if not prepared (this coming from someone who grew up both in Chicago, and nearby in Michigan).