How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter
How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Here in Iowa, winter comes early and lasts for a long time. That means now is the time to prepare your car for winter. With a few easy steps, you can help make sure you will make it through the season.

  • Fluids. Your vehicle’s fluids are its blood. If any of them are low or dirty, your car will not run properly.
  • Tires. During the winter months, you need tires that can cut through ice and snow and still stay pliable even when it is frigid outside. Consider switching to winter tires for optimal performance.
  • Lights. As the days gets shorter, you will be spending more time driving in the dark. Make sure all of your exterior lights are working and angled properly.
  • HVAC. You will need both your heater and air conditioner during the winter. Your heater warms you up, while the A/C removes the fog from your windshield.
  • Emergency kit. In case disaster does strike, you want to be prepared. Make sure you have an in-car emergency kit with items like high energy snacks, water, blankets, road flares, a small shovel, etc.

If you want to make sure your car is ready for the cold weather ahead, schedule a service appointment right here at Stalker Chevrolet. We will give your car the professional touch.

Spring in to Service – Car Care Awareness Month

Dust off your lawn mower, fire up the grill, and bust out your baseball glove; spring is here. And with spring’s arrival comes spring cleaning and car care.

Proper car care can you in more ways than one. Perhaps the most notable is safety. Taking care of your vehicle and making sure all scheduled and required maintenance has been done is a major factor in overall car safety.

Car Care Service
Stop by Stalker Chevrolet during Car Care Awareness Month

Proper car care can also save you money. And who doesn’t like to save money?!  Making sure your car is properly tuned, having proper tire pressure, keeping your engine oil regulated, replacing dirty air filters, and having a tight gas cap can all aid in saving you money at the gas pump. Along with those more minor maintenance tips, having serious maintenance or repairs done can also greatly improve your gas mileage; saving you potential hundreds in the long run.

Another way you’ll save money with car care is through making your vehicle more dependable. Keeping up on your regularly scheduled maintenance will allow your car to stay on the road longer and with less major upkeep. This will save you in cash from gas to repairs to rentals.

During car care month we hope you keep our Certified Service Technicians in mind when deciding where to have your vehicle serviced.

Brrrr…Cold Car Care Tips

Guess what everyone…it’s cold. Really cold. And when it’s cold nearly every outdoor activity becomes more difficult (save for skiing, snowboarding, etc.).  While I’m sure there are plenty of you that enjoy the snow and cold, your car is unlikely to have the same feelings. So while we’re in the grips of near record cold temperatures here are a few tips to make your life a little easier.

Cold car care preventative maintenance tips

Have your battery tested/Change your battery. Cold weather can zap the power from a battery pretty quickly. If you’ve had your battery for a few years it may be best to bring your vehicle to a service department and have the battery changed. You can have the service team check for loose cables and corrosion as well.

Check your fluid levels. It’s important to keep your car at optimum efficiency in the cold so you’re not left stranded at any time. Antifreeze and oil are key because they help regulate your fluid temperatures and keep you engine parts well lubricated.

Check your windshield wipers. In any driving situation being able to see what’s in front of you is important. Wiper blades designed to combat the snow and ice of the winter will increase your visibility and help keep you safe.

Chains on Tires
Extreme cold weather and winter conditions can do a number on your vehicle, if you aren’t prepared.

Our last preventative cold car care tip is checking up on your tire pressure. Cold air compresses more quickly causing a dip in your tire’s PSI. Depending on how much the temperature drops this could affect your tires overnight. Be careful not to over inflate you tires. The PSI on the tire is the max pressure the tire can take. Not the preferred amount for the weight of your vehicle. That number is on the driver side door frame and owner’s manual.

We realize getting out in the cold isn’t fun. But getting stuck in the cold is worse. Make sure you take care of you car this winter.

Chevy Headlights, Taillights, and You

The winter months mean cold temperatures and slick streets, but they also mean shorter periods of daylight. During this time it’s important to know some signs of wear on your Chevy headlights and taillights. These lights not only help you see better and further, they also help people see you.

Cold temperatures affect your battery, so make sure you have a strong battery. This will help keep your headlights and taillights strong. Another aspect that is often overlooked is cleaning your headlights and taillights. While some may not wash their vehicle as frequently during the winter months, keeping those headlights and taillights clean will increase your visibility.

In the event that your headlights and/or taillights have gone out replacing them in a timely manner is critically. Not only do you want to have full visibility again, but you don’t want to keep non-working parts in your vehicle. A dead bulb may create excess corrosion and damage the socket or wiring. Each Chevy vehicle is a bit different in how the lights are housed, so make sure to check your owner’s manual to find out the specifics of you vehicle. Or you can always take your vehicle to your local Chevy service center and have the lights replaced by a Certified Service Technician with genuine GM parts.

Your headlights and taillights are an extension of your eyes on the road. Make sure you take care of them so that you stay safe this winter and throughout the year.

And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Winterizing Your Car – Essential Items

In our last blog we discussed winterizing your car from a car care prospective. But there are more steps to take to make sure your car is properly winterize.

While we certainly hope your car always runs smoothly and you never have any complications, we want to do our best to make sure you’re prepared.

For starters make sure you have a blanket, extra set of warm clothes, and boots in your trunk for an emergency. Iowa winters can get pretty chilly, and if you’re stuck on the side of the road waiting on help that time will go by much faster if you can remain warm.

Cold Weather Car Breakdown
Keeping Key Items in Your Car Can Keep You From Being Left in the Cold This Winter

Next make sure you have an emergency kit. This doesn’t pertain to just the winter months, many of these items should be in your car at all times.

  • Flares
  • Radio
  • Engine Oil
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries – Batteries will get cold and lose a bit of life over the course of the winter. Bring back some of the juice by placing the battery between your elbow or underneath your arm for 30 seconds to warm them up.
  • First aid kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Rubberbands
  • Bungee Cords
  • Spare Cash – 10 to 20 dollars can stretch when you in a tight spot.
  • Multitool – A small handy device to do a variety of task.

The Boy Scout motto of, “Always be prepared”, applies when dealing with winterizing your car.

We hope our tips on packing essential items and winterizing car care were helpful. Drive safe this winter and look out for more information from Stalker Chevrolet. Remember to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.

Winterize Your Car – National Car Care Month

As much as it may pain some of you to hear (and delight others) winter is almost here. One way to start preparing for the cold and snowy months is by winterizing your car.

With October being National Car Care Month it’s a great reminder to get you car ready early for the months ahead.

Whether you decide to bring your vehicle in to Stalker Chevy and have our Certified Service technicians take care of your car or if you want to do an inspection of your own, here are a few things you should make sure to get checked.

Roads get slick and conditions are less than perfect for driving during our winters. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have the proper amount of tread. If you do a decent amount of driving on roads that don’t get cleared quite as much you may want to consider snow tires or ones with extra grip.

Even if your tires are gripping the road just fine they aren’t the only thing responsible for helping you stop in a safe manner. A thorough inspection of your brake system is important before winter hits. Brake lines, rotors, pads, drums, fluid, are all critical components to keeping you safe on snowy or icy roads.

The cold weather can do damage to your engine just by it being too cold. Make sure your car has the proper level of antifreeze, as well as other engine fluids like power steering, radiator, transmission, and windshield washer fluids.

While making sure your car can warm up and run safely and efficiently is great, it’s always good to make sure you can stay warm in your vehicle too. Make sure to get your HVAC systems checked out. No one wants to ride around in a frozen car all winter.

Be sure to have your defrosters and wiper blades inspected too. These are often items that get overlooked, but you can’t drive if you can’t see (Another reason not to text and drive).

And lastly check your battery, belts and hoses. Cold weather can do a number on all of these items. Cold weather is known to drain batteries more rapidly and being stuck in the cold is the worst. Belts and hoses typically have a pretty long shelf life, but you don’t want to ignore them. Especially in the winter when a break or crack can really leave you stranded.

While this takes care of most of the mechanical side of winterizing your car, there are some additional things you can do to further prepare your vehicle.

Check out our next blog installment for more information on how to fully winterize your car!

How to Prepare Your Car for the Last Days of Summer

Summer is very nearly at its end.  You might have noticed the nights getting a little bit cooler, a few more leaves falling from the trees, football getting back into season, schools going back into session, and so on.  Autumn is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean that we are entirely out of the woods when it comes to late-summer heat.

Prepare Your Car For the Summer
Summer Road Trips with the Top Down

There’s nothing worse than sliding into a car that’s been broiling all afternoon in the mid-day heat, but summer weather can do more than make you sweaty and give you a bad case of butt-sticking-against-leather-seat syndrome.  Neglecting certain basic maintenance needs can lead to decreased performance and lead to an uncomfortable ride all around.

As pointed out in a video from HowStuffWorks, step number one is making sure that your coolant system is up to snuff.  Check your radiator for contaminants and make sure that antifreeze levels are adequate.  Ensure that the coolant fan is functional, as its function is extremely vital to the engine’s temperature level.  Also, check the radiator core for rot, belts and hoses for cracks and leaks, and other components of the vehicle’s cooling system.  This will lead to better performance, less possibility of overheating, and fully functional A/C.

Furthermore, on days when the weather gets hot, be certain to protect your car from the heat by parking in the natural shade of a tree or purchasing a windshield sun shade.  It is of particular importance to not leave children or dogs in hot vehicles, not even for short periods of time.  What’s more, parking in the shade actually promotes better fuel economy, leading to more savings for drivers at the pump.

Park in the Shade to Improve Fuel Economy
Park in the Shade to Improve Fuel Economy

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also recommends changing to a specific set of summer tires to combat the hot asphalt.  These tires should have a shorter sidewall and less-aggressive tread.  For those not looking to keep season-specific tires, it is nonetheless important to ensure that your all-season tires are inflated, rotated, and aligned properly.

And here’s something: did you know that a cleaner car will be cooler than a dirty one?  A car that shines deflects more of the sun’s rays than one that doesn’t.  A dusty car is more likely to absorb the sun’s heat.  All the more reason to take advantage of that sunshine while you can, run your car or truck through a car wash, and make that baby shine something fierce.

Whether summer or autumn, winter or spring, the folks at Stalker Chevrolet are here to help.  Stop in for more maintenance tips to help prepare your ride for the upcoming season.

Common Car Myths

Car myths are something new and old drivers struggle with alike.  New drivers will hear something and not know any better to dismiss it, and older drivers have been known to hold onto folklore about their vehicles for decades.  We’re here to dispel some of the more common car myths out there.Red Car Insurance Myth

  • Reds Cars Cost More to Insure– This has most likely developed from people mistaking correlation for causation.  A lot of sports cars are red and sports cars cost more to insure.  At no point does an insurance company ask for your car color when giving you a quote.
  • The 3,000-Mile Oil Change– This is quite possibly the most widely known (and often times accepted) myth out there.  Today, vehicles should get an oil change around every 7,500 miles, but getting one more often won’t hurt, and if you drive in extreme conditions or tow frequently, you’ll want to schedule service for an oil change more often.
  • Vehicles that run on regular benefit from premium gasoline– Years ago, only premium fuel contained detergents that helped to clean the engine, and cars would benefit from the occasional premium fill-up.  Today, the EPA requires detergent in every grade of fuel, so stick with your recommended octane level.
  • Chevy AvalancheLet your engine warm up before driving– In the winter, this can be an appealing option, especially if you have a remote-starter, but modern vehicles actually warm up much faster when they are being driven.  Vehicles operate at their highest efficiency when they’re warm, so letting them idle in the driveway cold will cost you some gas.

Check out Cars.com’s list for additional myths, and be sure to visit us today at Stalker Chevrolet with any other vehicle-related questions you might have!