Christensen Automotive | Gardnerville 775.782.2605 , Carson City 775.882.8888, Reno 775.322.8100, South Lake Tahoe 530.544.9940, Fallon 775-423-5455

Winterizing Your Vehicle

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. As I’m writing this the forecast was for only a slight chance of precipitation, but winter driving conditions are here and can be harsh and there is no worse time for your vehicle to break down. A few simple checks and simple preparedness can help to keep your vehicle running smoothly this winter. These suggestions are taken from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the AAA. Cooling System – The primary function of the cooling system is to keep the engine from overheating. The system should be flushed and refilled as recommended by your owner’s manual. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. The AAA recommended protection level is -36 degrees. Heater/Defroster – must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Windshield Wipers – Replace old blades. Rubber-clad (winter) blades will help to fight ice build up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you’ll be surprised how much you use. Remember to carry an ice-scraper. Battery – Have checked for corrosion, cracks and dirt and to make sure it still operates as designed and then have it cleaned or replaced if necessary. Lights – Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses with a moistened cloth or towel. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag. Brakes – Nothing is more important than your car’s ability to stop itself and if your brake pads are worn you will not be able to stop your vehicle when you need to. You can check for brake pad wear by...


According to, owners are keeping their cars longer than they did a few years ago, a trend that is expected to continue until the economy rebounds. The U.S. Department of Transportation says an average car should last about 13 years and 145,000 miles before its scrapped. As a vehicle’s ages, its performance decreases and oil starts to break down at a faster rate. Over time, seals begin to deteriorate; gaskets become brittle, leaks become more prevalent and oil consumption increases — all leading to a reduction in engine performance. As more of the nation’s cars exceed 75,000 miles and approach the 100,000-mile mark, regular maintenance becomes an increasingly important way to prevent costly car repairs.  As a vehicle ages it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. Don’t rely solely on more general recommendations, and certainly not the “dealer’s recommended schedule,” which will cost you more than necessary. Following the manufacturer’s schedule carefully not only means fewer problems as a car ages; it also prevents the manufacturer from ever voiding your warranty based on “neglect.” Also make sure you keep records of all maintenance and repairs for your vehicle. These maintenance schedules work for vehicles getting normal use, but many people put extra stress on their vehicles. Manufacturers will also provide a severe use maintenance schedule. Any of the following qualifies as “severe” use, which may require shortening the normal maintenance cycle: Towing.  Off-road driving.  Driving through dust storms or in dusty conditions.  Frequent, short (less than 5 miles) trips or frequent stops and starts.  Cold climate operation. Some other tips to help make your vehicle...

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