Statistically, people will drive a lot more in the summer than in the cold winter months. You need to keep up with your car in the summer to keep it running well, but when it gets frigid outside, there are a lot of other things that you need to start worrying about.
Colder temperatures can wreak havoc on your vehicle. The liquids in your car can freeze, the engine often has issues starting up and a windshield can become dangerously filthy. Take the following steps to winterize your car and you should survive the cold months of the year.
1 – Check your Antifreeze
This one is sort of a no-brainer. Its winter, you don’t want the cold to cause your engine to seize up. Antifreeze is a chemical that brings the freezing temperature down which means that 32 degrees is no longer the temperature at which your engine can freeze.
Checking the antifreeze/coolant level is easy. There should be an antifreeze reservoir inside your engine that you can look at to see if you are at the full level or closer to low. If it isn’t at the full mark, you can take a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze then add it to the reservoir until filled up. If you notice it is an off color or has a leak, bring it to a mechanic to check out.
2 – Check or Change your Tires
You will only need winter tires if you live an an area where you expect an unprecedented amount of snow. If you might get a couple storms a year, chances are you won’t even be driving that much during the storms, so there is no need to get snow tires.
However, you will want to make sure you have tires with full tread in the winter. If you have bald tires during the winter months, you risk spinning out on black ice and getting into an accident.
3 – Oil Changes
You can still stick with the 3,000 mile oil change recommendation, but you should also consider the type of oil you are getting in the winter. You might want to consider getting a synthetic oil change in the winter time to give yourself an oil with more viscosity that will prevent you from having issues starting up your car in the morning.
4 – Change your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are a cheap product, so don’t skimp on these in the winter. If you are in an area that gets snow at all, you will be thankful you changed your wiper blades after the first storm. New windshield wipers are better at getting off the caked on snow as well as removing the dirty snow side effects that you’ll need windshield washer fluid to get off. Which leads me to…
5 – Buy Extra Windshield Washer Fluid
These bottles are so cheap. You should buy three of them for your car this year. One you should use to top off your fluid right away, and leave that one in your garage. Throw the other two in your trunk just to be safe. If there is a snowstorm, you’ll definitely end up with dirty, salty snow splashing up on your windshield. The only way to combat that and actually see where you are driving is to spray washer fluid constantly. You do not want to run out of this stuff.
6 – Remove Twigs and Leaves from your Hood
This is one of the free fixes you can do. Autumn is over which means months have gone by where twigs and leaves have been continuously landing on your car. Lots of the debris has probably found a home on the air intake near your windshield. Simply pop your hood and clear this debris away. It will keep your car from having to filter out all of the impurities that will make their way through the grill.
7 – Check your Battery
The cold air puts a toll on a battery. This is why in the winter you might notice more people sitting in a cold car hearing a click as they turn the key rather than the engine rumbling. You can bring your car to a Sears Auto or most other local mechanics to have them test how much juice is still in your battery. Make sure you also shut your lights off when you get out of the car so they don’t drain the battery.