The cool, crisp fall weather is here, and before we know it winter will descend upon us. We will prepare ourselves for the cold by digging out the winter apparel, closing up the pool, and having our furnaces tuned up. However, we also need to remember to get our vehicles ready for the cold. This might include servicing the cooling system, having the belts and hoses inspected or replaced, replacing the wiper blades and changing the oil. You should always have your coolant tested to ensure that it can handle the cold, as it is a vital component that helps to protect your vehicle's engine, radiator, heater core and more. Weak or dirty coolant cannot properly perform its necessary functions, and can lead to costly repairs. The same goes for your engine oil; it protects your engine from damage in both extreme heat AND extreme cold, so it needs to be changed every 3,000 - 5,000 miles so that it remains clean and retains its lubrication abilities.
As for your belts, hoses, and wiper blades; the rubber that these components are comprised of must be an equal balance of both flexibility and rigidity in order to work well. That means that they must be flexible enough to twist, bend, expand and contract in all temperatures; but strong enough to resist breakage, fraying or splitting. If the rubber becomes dry rotted or spongy, it cannot perform as needed and the component will need replacing.
Just remember, a well maintained vehicle is a happy vehicle...