5 Car Health Tips for Winter Road Trips

Car Health

We visit the doctor for an annual check-up, we should do the same with the cars we drive.

The doctor checks weight, blood pressure, pulse, vaccine updates especially when cough and cold season approaches, etc. Essentially an inspection of the body – and then she makes recommendations on next steps to improve any deficiencies or problem areas. The same should apply to the cars we drive. Once a year check-up to see how your car stands especially now as we head into winter. And especially for those that live in the northern states. Even though the weather suggests a stay in the warm house, winter is a big travel season with thanksgiving, upcoming holidays and college homecomings. These winter road trips should be planned with even more care than summer jaunts, because getting stuck in the snow and cold can be much harder to endure. So, bring your car into an automotive doctor before the cold weather arrives and have her perform a check-up.

This checkover should be more than just a look under the hood while getting an oil change. The winter check should access all systems of the car – especially those that will be more affected by the cold weather. A battery may not work as well in the cold and could leave you stranded and waiting for a tow truck. Coolant needs to protect an engine from freezing when the temperature falls below zero. In addition, here is a short list to look for in your checkover:

(1) The defrost should be in working order. Having good visibility out of all your windows will help prevent accidents with cars and obstructions on the road.

(2) All lights around the outside of the car should work. Remember it gets dark sooner in the winter time. Lights will help you see what is ahead and will help other drivers to know where you are.

(3) The heater should work on all speeds and reach a temperature that will keep you warm when the temperature gets very cold.

(4) Tires should have sufficient tread to grip the road when the snow falls or if the conditions become icy.

(5) Wipers should clean the windows without streaking or leaving spots that will hinder visibility. Remember to check for proper windshield washer functioning, so you may clean the windows easily when “road spit” sprays onto your windshield.

Most shops will perform these checkups for a small fee or as a courtesy with the expectation that there is a good chance to complete the work needed. A thorough checkup may take up to an hour to an hour and a half, and may be added to routine maintenance such as oil changes, rotations and snow tire change overs.

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What should you walk away with after the inspection?

What you should expect is a checklist of good and bad items for the major systems in the car. Along with the checklist you should receive an estimate for the cost of repairs that is well prioritized along these lines – complaints that you brought up about the car, safety issues such as bad brakes, performance issues such as a battery that might not work in the winter, preventive maintenance such as changing your transmission oil, and lastly, any cosmetic issues. Do not be surprised if the shop hands you a lengthy estimate on an older car, it is a job well done as long as they can help you prioritize needs. Remember repairs that you could put off in the summer might be a good idea to get done now that turkey will soon be on the table and snow will be in the air.

Who can perform this service near you:

Most automotive service professionals can perform this service. However, you value the vehicle you drive and want it serviced by qualified professionals without getting taken advantage of financially. Also, you want it serviced at a time and place convenient for you.

At Openbay, we connect you with trustworthy automotive service professionals who compete to earn your business. Qualified professionals respond with service offers custom fit to your needs. They accommodate your schedule. They answer questions you may have about your service request. All of this happens on the Openbay platform.

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You’ll receive and compare multiple competitive offers. Check availability on when the service can be performed. Read customer ratings and reviews for each of the professionals that responds with an offer. Check how far you will have to travel to get your vehicle serviced or in some cases, the service professional will come to your driveway or place of employment. Now, that’s convenient.

It’s that’s not enough, Openbay maintains an online history of service for each vehicle you have registered with Openbay. We do all the work for you. And best of all, Openbay membership is completely free.

If you are not a member, sign up today or download the Openbay mobile app.

Article written by an ASE Master Technician