With winter just around the corner, most drivers know the challenges of winter car ownership are just around the corner. Issues like slated streets, heavy snow, freezing temperatures, and icy roads make winter a difficult season for driving. So, how can you make sure that your car remains well protected and cared for during the tough winter months? Here is a rundown of 8 basic car care tips to help you ensure your car stays in great shape during the winter months.
One major challenge with winter driving is that the sun usually sets earlier during the day, meaning there’s little daylight, especially during your home commute. For this reason, you want to make sure that the lights on your vehicle are in great shape, to provide you with the best possible illumination. If you notice a bulb is out, replace it before winter starts.
Whenever you find snow covering an exterior light, remove it before you set off to drive. If your car has yellowed or foggy headlights, consider getting a restoration kit or replacing them altogether.
In most cases, it’s more difficult for a battery to operate during the cold weather than it is in warm weather. This would mean that a battery that was merely weak during summer can turn into a dead one come winter. We advise our customers to conduct a volt test on their car battery before winter to ensure the battery is still in great shape. If it’s not, then purchase a new battery as soon as you can, so that you won’t have to worry about being left in the winter cold stranded in a parking lot with a car that just wont start.
Coolant also referred to an antifreeze, a coolant is extremely important to your car. It ideally prevents the engine from freezing in the cold temperatures. So, before winter starts, ensure that your car has an ample amount of coolant, and that there aren’t any leaks on your radiator and engine that might cause the radiant to drain out. Most mechanics recommend having a 50/50 mix of water and coolant for the radiators, as it usually results in a much lower freezing point compared to using just the coolant.
Washer Fluid and Gasoline
You may be wondering what washer fluid and gasoline have in common. The answer rests in the fact that these are two of the items in your car that you should aim to keep full during the winter months. Make sure that your gas tank is full at most times. Why? Well, a full tank of gas helps to avoid having accumulated water freezing in the fuel pump, and will also make sure you stay warm in case you get stuck by allowing the engine to stay running.
Having a full washer fluid reservoir is quite important during winter months. Keep in mind that messy road debris from a snowstorm might require you to constantly wash your windows for some time to see where you are going.
When accelerating, all-wheel drive inspires confidence quite well, but it doesn’t necessarily help you when turning or braking. This makes winter tires a must for every vehicle, especially in areas where the temperature frequently drops below 45 degrees. Don’t forget that winter tires are comparatively more capable of staying flexible during the cold weather, meaning they can provide ample traction when trying to turn or stop on a cold pavement, even when there isn’t any snow on the ground.
It’s extremely important to monitor your tire pressure regularly as the temperatures get lower. Tire pressure can actually drop with the air temperature, generally losing a pound per square inch per every drop in air temperatures by 10 degrees. Driving around in low pressure tires could lead to premature tire wear, and potentially cause tread separation, which might in turn lead to an accident.
Underinflated tires also take a toll on your car’s handling, making it less predictable. So, if you check your tire pressure and notice that some of your tires are low on air, have them filled up at a gas station. When the temperatures start to climb again during spring, don’t forget to let out some air.
Climate Control and Defroster
Check your climate control system and window defroster system to ensure that they are working properly before winter gets into full swing. The reason for this is rather obvious, the defroster helps to keep your car windows from icing up, while the climate control system will keep you warm and prevent your windows from fogging up according to Low Price Auto Glass. Both are vital for keeping you safe and comfortable during your winter driving.
This is more of a winter preparedness tip than a car care tip, but it’s always advisable to consider having a survival kit for your vehicle if you really want to be prepared for winter. Although it might sound ludicrous for some urban drivers, drivers in the rural areas could find themselves stuck on a deserted road, with few cars around for miles and heavy snow falling.
So, if there’s the slightest chance thot you might end up in a road like this during the winter months, it’s a good idea to have a survival kit ready. Choose one that has a first-aid kit, a blanket, a flashlight, a knife, cellphone charger, and jumper cables. The phone charger should work with the car’s cigarette lighter. Be sure to keep a shovel and some de-icer spray handy in your car.