Cold weather has a way of revealing mechanical problems when they’re least welcome. So while there’s still some time before really cold weather arrives, take the opportunity now to avert car repairs before they become troublesome with vehicle maintenance. With our winter temperatures having a functioning block heater is paramount. Starting a warm engine is preferable to cold since the oil will also be warm and lubricate the motor faster instead of metal rubbing metal. Less wear translates into prolonged engine life. Checking to ensure a block heater is straightforward using an inline tester. If an outdoor electrical outlet is used and the cord is joined to an extension cord there’s no guarantee current is reaching the block heater. There could be an unseen break in the wire interrupting the current or perhaps even the block heater which is basically a heating element, may have given up its life. They are easy to use since an inline tester will light up if there’s a connection.

Pay particular attention to oil so it’s the right grade. For winter driving it’s preferable to use 5W-30 which signifies it’s designed for a temperature of five degrees to minus 30. In summer, the norm is 10W30. Seriously consider synthetic oil. It’s expensive, no doubt about it. But, oh, the payoff is worth it: easier winter starts, better gas mileage, less wear and tear on an engine, and not as frequent oil changes. Synthetic need only be changed every 10,000 kilometers compared to conventional that requires changing at 5,000 kilometers. Some synthetic oils are approaching 12,000 before an oil change is needed. Bear in mind that almost every engine today generates thousands of revolutions per minute, not hundreds as was the case with older engines. Spending a few extra dollars can save hundreds.