Winter poses unique challenges for your vehicle. Give your car an edge on this season’s cold and damp conditions by implementing these five maintenance tips.
Invest in new tires
Depending on which area you live in, winter can usher in occasional snow and ice storms. Ensure that your vehicle’s tires have sufficient tread on them to grip slippery roads. If the tread is wearing low, invest in a new set of all-season tires. Look for tires that have high ratings for quality and that do well on Consumer Reports’ ice-braking and snow-traction tests. You might also consider switching out your vehicle’s current tires with winter ones. Winter tires will give your car extra traction on slick routes thanks to tread patterns and rubber compounds designed to handle these conditions.
Keep it clean
Road salt can make roads less slippery, but it can also accumulate on your vehicle’s exterior and undercarriage. Help minimize rust and corrosion by pre-treating your ride’s undercarriage with an oil solution. This service is available at many collision shops and auto shops. Waxing your car’s outer shell is another safeguard to protect your vehicle from damage, as DMV.org recommends. For the most part, however, washing your vehicle after major snow storms is your vehicle’s best defense against this abrasive substance.
Check the battery
Cold weather isn’t just rough on humans. It can also be rough on conventional batteries. When the weather reaches 0 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery has just 50 percent of the power it has at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as Consumer Reports claims. Make sure to check the condition of your vehicle’s battery. An easy way to do this is to take it to a local repair shop or auto parts store and ask them to test the battery. Sometimes a battery just needs a charge; if it’s older than five years, however, it might be time to buy a new one.
Foggy or icy windows can be dangerous for you and your passengers as well as others on the road. Help keep the glass surfaces of your vehicle clear by keeping an ice scraper inside the cabin or trunk. It’s also a good idea to make sure the car’s AC/heating system is in tip-top shape, to ensure that the defrost function works when you need it. Lastly, check the condition of windshield wiper blades. Most blades tend to wear out after six months of use, so if it’s been a while since you last replaced them, purchase some new ones.
Check the fluids
Make sure your vehicle has sufficient coolant to keep the radiator from freezing. Per Consumer Reports, use a 50/5 ratio of antifreeze and water. However, if you live in an extremely chilly region, you might want to try a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio. You’ll also want to monitor the vehicle’s oil level. Cold temperatures can cause auto oil to thicken, which makes it harder for the engine to process it. It’s also wise to stay up to date on your vehicle’s oil changes and oil filter replacements to make sure that the oil is clear and flows smoothly through the filter.
With a little forethought and diligence, it’s easy to keep your vehicle functioning smoothly and performing safely this winter.
This article is presented by Rich Ford in Albuquerque, New Mexico.