Northern VA Auto Repair


Winter Maintenance Tips

  • Kick the tires: Have your tires rotated and inspected. The last thing you need in cold, wet weather is to be driving on bald tires or tires with low air pressure. You’ll need all the traction that is possible and both of these issues will significantly impair your tire’s response. Double check the tire pressure against the manufacturer's specifications found on the driver’s door jam or post when the tires are nice and cold and add air if needed. Or you can stop by Craftsman Auto Care anytime and we will be happy to check your pressure and make any adjustments for you!

Bonus tip: Pop your hood and clear out all those leaves and any debris that might have accumulated under your hood in the cowl (the section where the windshield and the hood meet). This debris can clog your body water drains and may have a negative affect on air inducted into the cabin and the cabin air filter.

Change your oil! Your oil should have the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year. Oil will thicken as it gets colder, and if it's too thick it won't work as designed to keep your engine lubricated. Check your owner's manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures or give us a call and we will provide our expert advice.

Give your battery a little TLC. This is an ideal time of year to make sure your battery's posts and connections are corrosion-free. If your battery is more than three years old, have our technicians test its ability to hold a charge. This is a service we perform free of charge!

Check the fluids: The various fluids under the hood keep your systems in your car running smooth so it’s vital to check and change them when necessary. This includes the engine oil, power steering, antifreeze, transmission and brake fluid. Also, the windshield wiper fluid!

Windshield wipers rule: Bad windshield wipers can make driving in the rain and snow the stuff out of nightmares. If your blades are more than six months old, odds are it's time to swap them out for new ones. As a rule, with each wiper blade replacement, always check your windshield fluid reservoir and top it off if needed.

FUN FACT: Improve the life of your blades by cleaning them next time you’re at a gas station. When you are cleaning off your windshield with the squeegee, flip your blades over and run the squeegee over them and you’ll be shocked the dirt and grim that will come off!

Bonus tip: If you’re not seeing well at night, check to see if your headlight lenses need some restorative work. A Headlight Restoration Service is a simple, quick and inexpensive way to remove any film that can dull your night vision.

Make sure the coolant system is cool: Extreme temperatures force the coolant system to work overtime. Have the antifreeze, hoses, and radiator checked.

Bonus tip: When weather changes, check the contents in your emergency kit. Stock your car with the right supplies for that “just in case” moment.

  • For getting out of trouble: Jumper cables, small shovel, sand or kitty litter for traction, and flares.
  • The necessary tools: Flashlight, small knife, ice scraper, and rope.
  • Added protection: Phone charger, emergency phone, blankets, energy bars, water, waterproof matches, first-aid kit, and gloves.
  • For more information about roadside emergencies, see our article, "Car Emergency Kit Checklist"