As the holiday season passes and we begin to prepare ourselves for what are typically the snowiest months of winter, it is important that we also ensure our vehicles are safe for traveling in bad weather. Between extra shopping trips and visits with friends and family, the holiday season typically means quite a few extra miles on the odometer, and with them some extra wear and tear. That is why getting an annual Winter Safety Inspection should be on your to-do list, even if nothing seems to be amiss. While an inspection can involve checking on many different components on your vehicle, here are some of the most common issues that an inspection checks for.

Tire Wear and Pressure Level

One of the most common maintenance tasks for vehicles is tire maintenance, and it is a task that is especially important during winter’s often inclement weather. During an inspection, we make sure to test your tire pressure to check if they are inflated correctly. Tires that are overinflated have less contact with the road, which means that they get less traction. It also means that the middle treads will wear down more quickly than the outer treads, which can drastically reduce the tires’ longevity. Tires that are instead overinflated have too much of the tread in contact with the road, which increases friction, and in turn increases heat build-up in the tread. Both of these issues will contribute to increased tire wear, and can even result in tread separation and blowouts. Maintaining the proper pressure is a quick and easy way to help to prevent these issues from occurring.

Another important part of tire maintenance are regular rotations and alignments. During an inspection, your technician will check if your tires are in need of a rotation to keep them wearing evenly. They will also check to see that your tires are aligned correctly with your steering wheel, as misaligned tires can make driving on slippery roads more dangerous as the vehicle can be more difficult to control.

Air and Fuel Filters

While oil filters get replaced with each oil change service, air and fuel filters need to be changed at mileage intervals specified in your manual by your manufacturer. Sometimes, however, road and weather conditions can result in your air or fuel filter needing to be changed before the recommended time. During a vehicle inspection, checking an air filter is as simple as opening the hood and taking a look at the filter itself. If it looks overly dirty or worn, swapping it out for a new one is a quick and inexpensive process that helps to ensure optimal gas mileage and better engine performance.

Checking your fuel filter is a slightly more complicated task, but it is important to consider if your vehicle is exhibiting signs of a dirty or clogged fuel filter. These include a lack of engine power, a rough idle, stalling when accelerating hard or traveling uphill, poor gas mileage, and random misfires. Technicians at participating Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® locations can perform a fuel pressure test, which will tell them whether or not your fuel filter needs to be replaced.

Battery Check

While vehicle batteries can work efficiently for two to five years, many factors can affect your battery life, from environmental conditions to how often your vehicle is used. Extremely cold weather can actually shorten average battery life by as much as fifty percent, as the battery has to work harder to start your vehicle in below-freezing temperatures. Often, you can get very little to no warning that a battery is beginning to fail. That is why we check your battery’s performance during a winter vehicle inspection. If the voltage falls outside of the normal parameters, you’ll know it is time to have your battery replaced.

Light Bulbs

Advances in light bulb technology in recent years may mean that your vehicle’s bulbs need replacing less frequently than in the past, but it is still important to inspect your lights periodically to ensure all are working correctly. It is also important to inspect headlight lenses for fogging, as this can reduce the range of your lights and make it more difficult to see at night.

Wiper Blades

Ice and snow can cause your wiper blades to wear more quickly than they do in milder months, so having them inspected regularly is important to check that they aren’t becoming overly worn or are falling apart. If a particularly snowy season is expected, consider opting for winter blades, which are made of a sturdier rubber more appropriate for scraping away ice and heavy snow.

Periodic vehicle inspections are an important part of vehicle maintenance, as they can help identify issues with your vehicle before they become a problem. If at any time you notice a sudden change in the way your vehicle runs or drives, it is best to come in to your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® for an inspection as soon as you are able. Having annual inspections done, especially during the harsh winter months, can help you keep ahead of required maintenance and avoid surprise repairs.

Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.

Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.