Prepare Your Car for Winter with Tips from CarMax

Dec 07, 2010

RICHMOND, Va., Dec 07, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Car trouble can ruin holiday travel plans, but auto service technicians for the nation's largest used car retailer, CarMax, Inc. (NYSE:KMX), offer these ten tips to ensure your car is cold weather ready.

"Winter weather can expose problems drivers often overlook," says CarMax ASE Master Technician Tom Damon. "Preventative maintenance is especially important during cold weather months to avoid costly repairs."

Follow these winterizing tips from CarMax auto service technicians:


Check antifreeze. Cooling-system failure is the No. 1 cause of engine related breakdowns. Maintain a 50/50 ratio of antifreeze to water, and flush antifreeze at the manufacturer recommended intervals, typically every two years.


Replace wiper blades. Replace windshield wiper blades twice a year, and fill windshield washer tank with freeze-resistant solution (water and standard washer fluid freezes).


Check car battery. If your battery is more than three-years-old, have a technician check its capacity. Ask to test the alternator, and make sure battery terminal ends are corrosion-free.


Check tire pressure. Cold weather causes tires to contract and pressure to drop, so it's best to check pressure when tires are cool. Set the tire pressure according to your manual's specific recommendations.


Check tire treads. Look at the tread depth on your tires. Put a penny headfirst between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln's hair, it's time to replace the tire.


Check spare tire. Make sure it has proper air pressure, tread depth, and all tire-changing equipment is in the vehicle.


Make sure lights, heater and defrosters work properly.


Check rubber hoses and belts for damage. Coolant hoses wear from the inside-out, so have a professional inspect all hoses and check for cracks or chunking in the belts.


Get brake system checked. If you haven't had the system inspected in the last six months, be sure to do so before you hit the road.


Put together a winter emergency kit. Include: a blanket, extra boots and gloves, ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, first-aid kit, flares, small snow shovel, flashlight, bottled water, and kitty litter (creates traction when stuck in snow). Keep kit in the trunk in case of emergency.

"You never know when you'll be caught in a storm or need to change routes," Damon says. "So it's always a good idea to have a full tank of gas."

It's also important to read your owner's manual and follow recommended service schedules. Not only will these tips keep you safe in the winter months but they can also improve your vehicle's mileage and prevent repairs down the road.

About CarMax

CarMax, a FORTUNE 500 company, and one of the FORTUNE 2010 "100 Best Companies to Work For," is the nation's largest retailer of used cars. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., we currently operate 103 used car superstores in 49 markets. The CarMax consumer offer is structured around four customer benefits: low, no-haggle prices; a broad selection; high quality vehicles; and customer-friendly service. During the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, the company retailed 357,129 used vehicles and sold 197,382 wholesale vehicles at our in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at

SOURCE: CarMax, Inc.

Media Contacts:
Britt Farrar, Manager, Public Relations, 804-747-0422, ext. 3473
Elia Imler, CarMax Public Relations, 804-747-0422, ext. 4029
Twitter: @CarMax