Service center

With the first hint of autumn temperatures, following a scorching September, it seems too soon to turn your thoughts to winterizing your car or truck.

But the truth is, once the leaves start to turn and the air starts to cool, it’s time to get your car ready for winter.

Winter can be an unforgiving season. Freezing temperatures coupled with snow and ice can take its toll on people’s patience and it can be harsh on cars and trucks. That’s why it’s important to winterize your vehicle before winter arrives.

Understanding what components of a vehicle can be compromised by dropping temperatures and snowy roads can help drivers take action now to safeguard their automotive investments.

Winter can wreak havoc on just about every part of a vehicle, but there are some parts that seem to bear the brunt of Old Man Winter’s abuse. Properly servicing and caring for a car or truck can help.

Drivers should take their vehicles for a tune-up and inspection before wintry weather arrives. A mechanic will examine the car battery and check antifreeze levels and make sure that the thermostat, defroster, brakes and even wiper blades are working effectively. Have the tires inspected for adequate tread, which can make navigating roads safer. If the treads are worn, replace the tires.

In addition to visiting their mechanics, drivers can perform some inspections and fixes themselves.

· Check that all of the vehicle’s lights are operational so your car can be easily seen during inclement weather. Exchange your existing windshield washer fluid with one that will not freeze in cold conditions. Check the nozzles on the windshield-washer system routinely and clear out any blockages of ice or debris. While addressing windshield washer fluid, also replace worn out windshield wiper blades with ones that can withstand snow and icy weather.

· A new coating of wax can serve as a shield against snow, sleet and rain. Try a polymer wax to protect the paint. Whenever possible, rinse off salt and grime so it does not dry on the car and gradually wear away at the paint. Some drivers mistakenly believe that salt stops being a problem once it dries simply because moisture is the active ingredient for a corrosive reaction. But humidity in the air is not enough to keep the salt eating away at the car’s paint, and that can contribute to rust. Be sure to rinse off the undercarriage of the vehicle as well

· Have your tires’ alignment checked toward the end of winter or early spring. A season of traveling over pothole-ridden roads or hitting curbs buried under snow drifts can affect the alignment. Get everything back on track. Similarly, inspect tires routinely, as weather changes can affect tire pressure and strength.

· Try to park the vehicle in a garage or under a car port, each of which can protect cars and trucks from the often harsh elements of winter.

With most of the Lakeway Area still steaming from unusually hot fall temperatures, it can seem too early to turn our thoughts to winter.

But it’s never too early to be prepared.

At Rusty Wallace Toyota in Morristown, their factory-trained service technicians will gladly service your car for the upcoming winter months. They are quick yet thorough and their service department makes it easy to schedule your visit online or by phone. Your Toyota vehicle will be in great hands when you bring it into their Morristown dealership.

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Rusty Wallace Toyota