Winter weather car care & a $50 giveaway with Sears Auto Center!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

"This is a sponsored post, I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own."

As a part of the #SACRoadWarriors team, I have had the opportunity to get a more in-depth look at maintaining my vehicle. I recently had my last trip to a Sears Auto Center as a part of the SACRoadWarriors crew and am a bit sad that the experience is over.  Everyone at my local Sears Auto Center were very patient and thorough as they explained the different elements involved in properly maintaining a vehicle.  I've learned so much and am certain that there are still a lot of things that I should learn about car care.

This month's trip focused on wipers, batteries and not letting the harsh winter weather ruin your vehicle.

Batteries 101

Did you know that there are several types of batteries, and which battery your vehicle will have depends on the vehicle and the batteries usage?

  • Starting Batteries: these batteries are typically found in your car, as they are designed to deliver a large amount of charge for a short period of time – the charge needed to start your car. Once the engine is running, the alternator provides all the power the car needs, so your car battery may never be drained below 20% of its total capacity. Starting batteries are not designed to be fully discharged.
  • Deep Cycle Batteries: designed to provide a steady amount of current over a long period of time, though they can provide a surge when needed. Deep cycle batteries are also designed to be deeply discharged over and over again, whereas repetitive deep discharge would rapidly kill a starting battery. Deep cycle batteries are commonly found in marine vehicles and small four-wheel vehicles such as golf carts.
  • Dual Purpose Batteries: designed for vehicles which require both cranking and light deep cycling, these batteries offer a compromise between the two.

Your every-day use vehicles such as vans and sedans will have a Starting Battery whereas an RV would require a Deep Cycle Battery.

Am I the only one that has always been terrified by the car battery?  If I have ever needed to have my car "jumped" - I've been terrified of placing the wrong cables to the wrong terminals.  We have a portable jump starter that was kept in my previous (old) vehicle.  If I needed to jump the car, I would make several phone calls before braving up and getting everything connected.  The crew at the Sears Auto Center reviewed with me the proper way to connect the cables and the results if not done correctly.

Wiper Blades

Believe it or not, the wiper blades on a vehicle can cause me to love or hate that vehicle (for the moment anyway).  I hate driving a vehicle with poorly maintained wiper blades.  I thought that perhaps I was just a very picky driver in wanting my wiper blades replaced often.  But I found out on this trip that it is recommended to change them every six months!  As picky as I am, I wasn't changing them often enough.  And hey, it's easy to!  So do it!  
90% of our driving decisions are made based solely on visual information, yet one out of every five vehicles on the road have deficient windshield wipers. After a winter of snow, sleet and ice, spring is the perfect time to replace your wiper blades, which should be checked regularly and replaced every six months. Wiper blades that no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface can significantly impair your visibility as they streak, smear, chatter, skip and squeak.

You should check your wiper blades often to see if they need to be replaced.  A few things to check for are:

  • Broken frame, or detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points
  • Metal corrosion, especially at joints and claws
  • Visible cracks, tears and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge
  • Difficulty flexing rubber squeegee. Squeegees should flex back and forth in order to properly conform to the shape of your windshield. Aged squeegees with difficulty flexing will create streaks
  • Rounded squeegee edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduce wipe quality
  • Loose wiper blades. Tug to ensure the wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm
  • Secure squeegee. Check that the squeegee is secure in the wiper frame

Winter Weather

Ice, snow, salt, frigid temps and uneven pavement will play havoc with your vehicle! While at the Sears Auto Center, a vehicle was towed in that had a lot of damage from a seemingly invisible element.  Corrosion.  Corrosion likely caused by harsh weather and the ways in which it effects our roads and how we deal with icy road ways.

Problems you may encounter in winter weather:

Misalignment and damaged shocks and struts: Winter brings a constant cycle of freezing and thawing, as well as salt and other chemicals designed to melt the snow and ice. This combination can lead to cracks and gaping potholes in the road. Have your car’s steering and suspension system checked to make sure your shocks and struts haven’t been damaged by uneven road conditions. Your alignment can also be affected by potholes.

Failing batteries: Cold weather has a way of seeping energy from batteries, leaving you without the ability to start your car when you need it the most. AAA reports a 300 percent increase in the amount of battery-related calls once winter rolls around. That’s no coincidence.

Low tire pressure: Cold temperatures cause tire pressure to drop, leaving you vulnerable on the road.

Bad wipers or windshield wiper fluid: One of the most significant aspects of driving safety is your ability to see the road clearly.

Frozen gas lines: Keeping gas in your car makes more sense during winter than any other time of year.

The vehicle that came in during my visit could have benefited from a thorough check of the car's undercarriage. An inspection would have shown that the vehicle had wear and tear likely from the elements.

Before you hit the roads this winter, bring your car into your local Sears Auto Center for a free multi-point inspection.


Sears Auto Center has provided me with a $50 Gift Card to giveaway! This gift card can be used at Sears or Sears Auto Center.

How to Enter: Simply leave a comment below about something you learned from this post or one of the links to all of the wonderful information Sears Auto Center offers.

Winner will be notified by e-mail. So, I must have a way of finding your e-mail address or please provide it below. If I can not contact you, another winner will be chosen.