Winter Time Car Maintenance
Not a lot of car owners think about maintenance until something goes array. One instance when your vehicle needs adequate attention is the approach of winter. The cold season means dealing with icy roads, snowed driveways, and salty streets. Without proper preparation, these conditions can wreck havoc on your car. Don’t forget the freezing temperatures, which can do a number on vehicle components.
Winter driving conditions are tricky and downright dangerous depending on how bad the weather gets in your area. Car care ensures that your vehicle is ready to handle the harsh environment effectively minimizing the risks of accidents and wear on the machine. Here is how to go about winterizing your car.
Service the Battery
Cold weather is disastrous for a car battery as it reduces its performance with every drop in temperature. A battery that is weak at the start of the season will quickly die as the cold sets in. For a car owner with the know-how, check the fluid level and add distilled water if it’s low. A volt test should tell you if the battery is in optimal working condition. Remove corrosion, clean surfaces, and tighten the cables. Most individuals can do basic care but if you are doubtful, have a professional look at it. Messing with the cables while checking the battery can result in more problems.
Check the Tires
Worn out tires are a safety hazard for you plus other road users and the icy roads in winter increase that risk. Tires should have a tread of about 3 mm to provide sufficient grip on wet and slippery surfaces. Ensure the pressure is right and always have a spare. A majority of vehicles have all-season tires but if necessary, get special snow tires. When buying new tires, ask about the ice braking tests and other safety ratings. Check the wheel alignment.
Improve the Lighting
Driving in winter most of the times means navigating with poor daylight, especially in the late afternoons. For this reason, the illumination on your vehicle must be excellent. Inspect all your bulbs to see if you have broken or dim ones. Replace the ones that are not functioning properly before winter rolls in. For yellowed or foggy headlights, consider restoration or replacement. Clean grime and accumulated dirt from lenses regularly using a wet cloth and be careful not to leave scratches.
Replace Wiper Blades
Some car owners may not notice it, but wiper blades get old very fast. Ineffective blades can make your winter driving frustrating not to mention dangerous. Check the performance of your blades by watching out for any missed streaks on the window. Rubber blades are more suitable for winter due to the ice buildup. Cleaning the edges of rubber blades can extend their lives for a short while, but replacements are more advisable.
Maintain The Oil
Your car’s engine can take a beating during the cold season if it doesn’t have the right protection. One care tip is a regular change of oil and filter, which will keep the engine in tip-top shape for your winter driving. Make sure to read the vehicle’s manual to see the manufacturer’s recommendation on the best products for winter use.
Keep Windows Clear
The ice and foggy atmosphere can compromise the visibility of your windshield severely. It is worse if your vehicle has to sleep outside. Then there is the mud, dirt, and debris that your windows may pick up while on the road particularly if it rains. Use a scraper to get ice off your windows before turning on the wiper blades. Keep winter windshield washer fluid ready to fill your washer reservoir because you will use it frequently.
Fill up the Coolant
The cooling system has to be functioning at 100 percent if your car is to get through winter. During servicing, ensure there are checks for any leaks or cracks that may cause leaks. The low temperatures of winter require you use antifreeze in your radiator. The mixture of antifreeze and water should be 50/50. Keep coolant in your car in case the need for it arises while on the road. Scheduled routine checks to verify the concentration level and condition of the radiator and coolant.
Inspect the Heater
Driving in the cold with a malfunctioning heating system is not fun. The comfort that a vehicle offers its occupants is as essential as its performance. Conduct a thorough evaluation of the state of your car’s heater. A mechanic can tell you if it needs new parts or replacing.
Wash Your Car
The notion that your vehicle doesn’t need cleaning because it’s raining or will get dirty after a storm is misguided. Never let your vehicle go too long without a proper wash during winter. Roads are filled with chemicals and salt during the cold season to improve drivability, and that means your car comes into contact with all that. Failing to clean it properly only allows those contaminants to accumulate on the exterior, which can ruin the paint job or get into the components. A good wash once a week should improve the life of your vehicle.
Carry a Survival kit
Roadside emergencies amid below zero degrees and falling snow can take the patience out of any driver. Even with the best preparations, breakdowns can occur, and an emergency kit can reduce the unpleasantness of it all. The kit should include a first-aid box, flashlight, extra batteries, tire chains, backup phone & charger, jumper cables, blankets, and snacks. Although it doesn’t apply to the maintenance of your vehicle, packing a well-stocked survival kit improves your winter driving.