When inclement weather sets in, you have to pay special attention to certain parts of wheelchair vans. This is just as true in the winter as in the summer. Low temperatures, snow, wet or icy roads and other cold-weather concerns affect vehicle performance. They also make driving difficult and dangerous. Follow some basic cold weather care advice for your van to help prevent vehicle damage and accidents.
Properly inflated tires are essential to maintaining control of your vehicle. Check the tire pressure every week or two, or have someone do it for you if you can’t. Inspect tire tread, too. If you have normal tires, make sure the tread isn’t worn down to less than 2/32 of an inch; if you have snow tires, make sure it’s not worn down below 5/32 of an inch. If the tread on any tire is this worn down, it’s time for a replacement.
Replace antifreeze at least once every two years. Even if levels are still acceptable, the chemical balance of the antifreeze probably isn’t right anymore. If you don’t know when yours was last changed, have it done at the start of the winter. Also have your thermostat, water pumps, and radiator checked. Hoses and belts should be inspected for wear and cracks. Replace your radiator cap at the beginning of cold weather, too. Seek repairs at the first sign of problems with your heater or defrosters.
Have your oil changed when winter arrives. Use the lowest recommended oil grade. This is identified in your owner’s manual. Particularly cold weather diminishes a battery’s charge and ability to crank the vehicle’s engine. Get a battery test and have the battery fluids measured. If your battery is at least three or four years old, replace it.
When it’s really cold out, turn the electricity on in wheelchair vans first and wait 30 seconds before starting the engine. Also, keep your gas tank at least half full during the winter to prevent frozen gas lines. Don’t forget to keep some rock salt and an ice scraper in your van. Never use windshield wipers on frost or ice, as this easily damages them.