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Seriously Awful, Absoutely Horrible Winter Maintenance Tips


Recently, we detailed some of the best winter maintenance tips for your vehicle. It’s good to know how to prepare before the cold season hits. Being ready for winter not only keeps your car running in top shape, but it’s safer too. Winter can be a dangerous time to drive, especially on the highway.

I wish I could say this article was going to fill you with a certain level of confidence; a confidence so great you and your vehicle would standby to welcome the snow with laughter. However, it’s not that in the slightest bit.

If you follow any of these tips, you will be stranded this winter.

But just for fun, hold on to your snow tires!

Winter Traction

Think of the money you will save by only putting rear tires on your vehicle?

I would not recommend this during your ice fishing trips. Sure, it’s fine to drive up to the lake without front tires, but be sure to put them on before driving onto the lake. Otherwise, the razor sharp edges of your rims will cut the ice, and you are liable to fall right through.

Removing your front tires will also reduce the likelihood of hitting a deer. Deer hate the sound of rims on a cold surface. No more having to stick those silly deer whistles on your front bumper.

Winter Air

A very important distinction here that often gets overlooked when putting your rear snow tires on. Ask your local dealership to change out your summer air for winter air. Winter air is hard to come by and only reputable service shops/dealerships carry it.

Winter air is dense and much heavier than the more brisk summer air.

Contrary to popular belief, store bought air compressors are summer air only. There are some industrial models with a toggle switch to go from summer to winter air but those are hard to find.

As the EPA increases the standards for winter air, many of the store bought compressors that once provided both summer and winter air have been discontinued. Simply ask your Service Advisor for a winter air service, which this time of year, are usually discounted.

Muffler Bearings

While you are in for your winter air service, be sure to have them inspect your muffler bearings. Studies have shown, the top cause of muffler failure is neglected bearings. While the muffler belt is usually good until 100,000 miles (120,000 on newer models) you might as well have them check it while they are in there.

If you are living on a budget, a vacuum cleaner belt will suffice for a while if you are in a bind. Eventually though, you will want to install a belt certified by either Muffler International and/or United Belt.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Sand Paper

This one is fairly easy and makes perfect sense. Some suggest putting a hot, wet towel on your windshield to keep ice off but that’s just asinine. The sandpaper will cut right through the ice and that will save you having to get out and scrape your windshield.

No more trying to clean your windshield off with your arm, restaurant menu, or credit card.

Day Light Savings Time

Granted, most newer cars change firing order automatically but with older cars, it’s a manual process.   If you go somewhere the next day and find you have arrived either an hour late or early, then you know your firing order is wrong.

On rare occasions, firing orders have been so far off, people report pulling up to grocery stores, hotels, and airports all to find them deserted. It’s not normally a cause for immediate alarm unless a chewing noise can be heard. If this happens, it’s most likely The Langoliers.

To change your firing order it’s easy: pop the hood and locate the Discombobulator. It should be under the plyo-charger but just above the hyper-extender. Push the red button on the Discombobulator (orange if 1999-2002) and wait until it says “sync for firing order.” If it says “scan for firing order,” you must hit reset and try again, but first hit the “recoil” button, then press the blue button.

After “sync for firing order” appears, quickly move the joystick to the left, then down, and then to the right. Think like you are playing a side scroll fighting game; it should be one fluid motion. If done correctly, it should read “Firing Order Reversed” but if “Reversed Firing Order” appears, you moved the joystick right, down, and left as opposed to left, down, and then right.  That’s not the correct way.

You will have to push the button with the Neo icon dodging bullets, which resets the Discombobulator. Wait 30 seconds and then try again at the beginning.

Energy Drink

I recommend getting a 4 pack of your favorite energy drink and just storing it right under the hood for easy access. Energy drinks have high doses of B vitamins, which have been shown to enhance coolant efficiency and radiator life.

It’s useful to add an energy drink shot to your transmission fluid too. Recent studies show transmission cooler lines fail due to a lack of B vitamins. The folic acid helps to repair minor holes in the lines, saving the end consumer on maintenance costs.

Do you have any awful winter maintenance tips? 

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

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