Winter is upon us and that means it’s time to prep your beloved car for the cold season. Because of the cold, dry air, the engine’s small components are prone to damage. The tires could crack, frozen oil could be lodged into the pipes and battery fluid could evaporate especially if the vehicle is not prepped and stored properly. To keep your car working better as the season gets colder, keep these tips in mind:
Switch to Winter Tires
Once the climate starts getting nippy, it’s time to bust out the winter tires and replace your normal tires. Unlike your average tires, winter tires are heavier, tougher, and more resistant to damage caused by sleet, salt, and snow as well as the dropping temps. Roads are also slippery once winter season sets in and winter tires have better traction, making your car responsive and nimble as you drive.
Check Tire Pressure and Tread Depth
Well-maintained tires are key to road safety in any season, more so during the winter season. This goes especially if you live in a place that gets a lot of snow. Before and after every trip, make a habit out of checking your tire pressure and tread depth. You can use a pressure gauge to check the pressure level. If the pressure is off, go to the nearest gas station and fill the tires up. Consequently, check the tread of your tires via a penny test. Replace the tires if they are worn.
Use Heavy Duty Winter Windshield Wipers
Your wipers are working harder to eliminate snow, slush, and ice off your windshield during the winter season so invest on a pair of high quality, heavy-duty wipers. Before your trip, check if your windshield wipers are working perfectly because you don’t want them to conk out in the middle of a torrential downpour. In addition, use winter wiper fluid during the cold season to keep your windshield clear and clean.
Regular windshield fluid will freeze when exposed to cold air, leasing to a blurry windshield. Because winter fluids are designed to work during the colder season, they will not solidify on your windshield and potentially cause an accident.
Use Winter-Grade Oil
To prepare your engine for the cold weather, use winter-grade oil at your next oil change. As you know, oil and cold don’t mix so you want the engine oil to be as thin as possible so it won’t clog the engine. Winter-grade oil has lower viscosity grade so it won’t clog the system and cause engine trouble. This means if you use 10W-30 oil during the spring to fall season, switch to 5W-30 before the winter season starts.
Checking the Coolant and Anti-Freeze Fluids
As the name implies, antifreeze keeps your engine from freezing during the cold season while coolant helps keep your engine working at its peak all year round. Make sure you have ample amount of coolant and antifreeze before your trip to prevent engine trouble in the middle of a snowstorm.
Keep a Winter Kit
Get a small to medium-sized tool box or even a large cooler and fill it with essential supplies you need in case you get stranded on the road: flashlights, road flares, batteries, first-aid kit, blankets, radio, an extra cell phone (charged, of course), an ice scraper, and several energy bars, beef jerky and other snacks. Put the kit in the trunk.
Check the Battery
A dead battery is pretty common in the early morning when it’s chilly outside. This problem is typically caused by battery fluid evaporating. Heating the battery too fast can cause battery overcharge so to prep your battery, keep the cables clean.
Just pop the hood, detach the cables, and wipe the dirt off with a dry cloth or paper towel. If you want to make sure your battery is in tip-top shape, we suggest driving to the nearest service station to check. You can also call your local mechanic for consultation and possible repairs.