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August 15th, 1999 Article
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WARNING, WARNING.

I would like to remind everyone that lives in the northern climes that there are two MAJOR events approaching and both can be very expensive.

1. The holiday season will be over and this means things like:

  • The Credit card bills.
  • Back to school expenses.
    Sorry but I cannot be much help here.

    2. WINTER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.
    It is time to start planning on getting the family transportation ready for winter. What you do and where you drive your vehicle has a bearing on how you should prepare for winter. Lets deal with basic stuff that applies to vehicles that are parked outside and use Engine heaters to help them start on those cold mornings first. Naturally we want to make sure that the Engine heater is working properly and this can be done with a simple Ohmmeter connected to the two flat terminal of the heater plug on the vehicle. If the Ohmmeter shows continuity, the engine heater should work. But don't forget to check the power supply to the heater and make sure that you have a GOOD OUTSIDE rated cord to plug the vehicle into. All you need to check the power supply is a small lamp. Just plug the cord into wherever you usually plug it and plug the lamp into the other end, and if the lamp works you are fine. Now is where we get to the TRICKY part that I hear about every winter and that has to do with "The Pre-winter check up" offered by many service outlets. Every year I get notes from people who say things like; "I took my car in for a Winter Service last month and now it won't start, aren't those people supposed to check all of that stuff?" And my answer is always the same in that THOSE people can only do what they are requested to do! Checking all of the systems required to have a relatively trouble free winter, takes time and time cost you money. The cheaper you try to be, the better your chances of having problems are. I will tell you what I do with my own vehicles and this is what I suggest other do.BUT! I flush the Radiator, blow out the heater core and refill with fresh anti-freeze. I pressure test the system and check for hoses that may be a problem. I check and adjust all belts. Now I get into the starting system. I do a battery load test to make sure that the battery is capable of starting the engine when it gets cold and here you must remember that a battery is only half as good at -10C than it is at +20C. I check the starter draw to be sure that it isn't taking too much power to turn the motor over because if the starter draws too much, there will not be enough power left to allow the car to start. I check and service all battery and starter connections and cover them with corrosion inhibitors. I also check the Alternator output because it must be able to keep up to the extra strain of winter running. I do a complete engine, fuel system and exhaust analysis so I am sure that everything is WORKING RIGHT. I change oil and filters and I use different oil in the winter. (Long Story.) Last but not least, I install FOUR STUDDED WINTER TIRES and while I have the tires off I get a chance to check the brakes and steering system. I am now ready for winter and I have never had a winter breakdown. If you don't want to have a breakdown either, just do (Or get done.) what I do.

    "TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - August 15th,1999
    Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999

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