Maintaining your Mazda will not only save you money in the long run but also keep your Mazda running safely, reliably and at peak performance. In Northern California, we are lucky to have more mild winters. However, rain, sleet and trips to the mountains all require a Mazda running at its best. Prepare your Mazda for cold, wet weather now, before winter hits, and enjoy more peace of mind all season long. October is Car Care Month and marks the perfect time to run through a Winter Prep Checklist so you can take care of any issues now to avoid a dreaded winter breakdown.
Tires are one of the most important parts of your car, and they take the brunt of your driving, being the only point of contact with the road. Tires hit gravel and debris, get hot and cold, and generally become worn down over time. During cold weather, it is essential to monitor your tire pressure and check tread depth.
Cold temperatures cause the pressure in your tires to deflate. Once a week, measure tire pressure and inflate as needed. Low tire pressure not only causes tires to wear out sooner, but it also decreases your fuel efficiency!
Had your tires for a while?Take a moment to measure your tire’s tread depth. Try the Penny Test: place a penny with Lincoln’s head facing you, upside down in the groove of each tire. If you can see his head, it is time for new tires. Are your tires measuring differently? San Leandro Mazda recommends a wheel alignment and tire rotation service. Uneven tire wear is a sign of wheel misalignment. You may also want to get a set of winter tires if you spend time in snowy areas. Any time you get new tires, your Mazda should also get a wheel alignment service.
Obviously, brakes are incredibly important, especially on slick winter roads. Get a brake inspection before winter starts and consider a mid-season recheck if you drive in snowy areas that use road de-icer. Some signs that it is time for a brake service include:
- Screeching or squealing
- Vibration when braking
- Soft feel to the brake pedal
- Pulling to one side or jerking when braking
Cold weather causes your battery to have reduced capacity, meaning it tends to run out of juice sooner, especially if you park outside. San Leandro Mazda can test your battery and help you determine if a simple recharge will suffice or if it is damaged and time for a new battery.
Fluids: Coolant, Wiper, Oil
We all know to get regular oil changes, and the change in seasons is a good reminder to change your oil and filter. Consider switching to a winter-grade oil better suited to cold weather. It might also be time for a coolant (antifreeze) fluid flush. Refer to your Mazda’s maintenance schedule.
As frost builds on windshields overnight and freezing rain disrupts your vision, wiper fluid comes in handy to clear the windshield. So, keep your wiper fluid reservoir full with winter-grade wiper fluid.
Test and Check
As the sun sets earlier and rain reduces visibility, it is wise to do a once-over of your Mazda’s exterior and working parts. Check that headlights, taillights and fog lights are functioning and clear of debris or damage. And as the temperature dips, test your Heater to ensure hot air is coming out. It is uncomfortable to drive without heat but can be dangerous should you get stuck on the side of the road.
The change of seasons is also a good reminder to change your wiper blades. We may not get much rain in the summer in Northern California, but wiper blades still get worn out from dust, scraping bugs and can become warped over time. If you notice streaking or missed sections on your windshield, it is time for new wiper blades.
With the smoky summers we have thanks to our new wildfire season, be sure to change your cabin’s air filter. After a hot summer full of dust, pollen, pollution and smoke, that air filter gets clogged, meaning the air circulating in your cabin is less than fresh. A clean cabin air filter will help your heater function better and ensure you get maximum air filtration.
Use this checklist to help you keep track of your winter maintenance needs. Found something needing repair or not sure where to start? Visit the experienced team at San Leandro Mazda for a professional service and get any Mazda maintenance needs addressed today.
Winter Maintenance Checklist
☐ Check tire tread depth
☐ Tire rotation or new tires
☐ Change oil and filter
☐ Brake inspection
☐ Battery test
☐ Coolant flush
☐ Fluid top up
☐ Test HVAC system
☐ Replace wiper blades
☐ Check all lights
☐ Swap out cabin air filter
☐ Pack emergency kit:
- Flashlight, batteries
- Jumper cables
- Phone charger/battery
- First aid kit
- Snacks, water
- Blankets, jackets, gloves
- Emergency flares, cones, reflector
- Shovel, ice scraper
- Tire chains
Performing preventative maintenance year-round is always a good idea, but it is even more important during the cold winter months. As an authorized Mazda Full Circle Service Dealership, San Leandro Mazda will provide you with a free Full Circle Service Inspection and a Report Card detailing the current state of your Mazda and what services are needed now or in the near future.
Prepare your Mazda for winter with a professional service from San Leandro Mazda. Then drive easy knowing you are in a properly maintained Mazda that is performing at its best with advanced safety and driver-assist features. Schedule your Mazda service online or give us a call to get friendly, expert advice from our team of expert Mazda technicians. At San Leandro Mazda, we only use Genuine Mazda Parts and state-of-the-art Mazda diagnostic technology and equipment. Visit San Leandro Mazda in San Leandro, California, for your next Mazda service this fall.