Vehicle winterization:

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By Sarah Meedel

Sure, it may be sunshine and lollipops now, but this is Nebraska — the weather can change here suddenly. If a cold front should unexpectedly sweep across town, bringing snow, ice and freezing temperatures, what can a person do to protect themselves and their vehicle?
Technician Jeff Haver of Haver’s Service Center believes it is essential to have a good battery, clean oil and antifreeze to prepare every car for the winter ahead. The battery should be new so it can be easily restarted and clean oil is necessary to keep upper parts of the engine lubricated. Antifreeze, as its name says, is necessary so the engine does not freeze. Haver also says it is important to have spark plugs in good shape because when a car is starting in the cold, the goal is to have the most KB (sparking power) in order to get the vehicle started as quickly as possible.
Moving to the outside of the automobile, Haver goes on to discuss tires. He explains how it is important to have good tire treads in order to maintain good traction on the road. Also, he says it is important to have proper tire inflation. Haver mentions one other problem that happens frequently due to winter weather: because people have their windows rolled up during the cold weather, they do not hear brakes sensors going. Come springtime, many will need work on their brakes. In order to prevent this, Haver?s does a once-over on the brakes as part of their winterization for vehicles.
Haver also suggests starting with a basic oil change to begin weather-proofing a car. The cost of that is usually around $25 and includes the oil change, an air filter, coolant protection and corrosion resistance and various other tune-ups. If a battery needs to be replaced, the price can range from $35 to $100. An antifreeze flush can be anywhere from $65 to $95. Pricing on tires can be drastically different due to the size of the tire, the kind of automobile they are on and what type of tire the owner wants. They can be as low as $35 for a used tire or as high as $225.
When it comes to basic winter weather maintenance, Haver has some advice. Even though technology is advancing and the paint on new cars is more durable, vehicles still are more prone to rust in the winter. With the salt and grime on the road, it is bound to end up on one?s automobile. He advises washing the car, even though it may be tough to do. His service center, like many others, offers an indoor wash. He also suggests VIP?s or Dolphin?s car wash services. There is always the poor man’s alternative: buying the car wash when filling the gas tank to save that extra dollar. Whatever it takes to get the filth off of the car and keep it from rusting is worth the effort.
Although rust might not affect your driving, old wiper blades will. Overall, it is better to replace your wiper blades near the winter time so they are in peak condition. Haver suggests lifting the wiper blades away from the windshield and allowing them to snap back on, thus shaking off excess ice. The deceptively easy alternative, using the wipers when they are frozen, can burn the wiper motor up. To go along with that, he suggests keeping an ice-scraper handy.
Haver?s final suggestion is to never let the gas get below a quarter of a tank. This way, the vehicle can run for a while and keep passengers warm if stranded. Also, if there is less than a quarter tank of gas, winter moisture can settle in the tank, causing the car to have a running problem.
To make sure a vehicle is ready for cold temperatures and snow can be as simple as getting an oil change. It can save more money in the end by having the simple checks done now than after the damage is done.

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