5 Winter Car Care Tips
Fall is starting to wind down, and temperatures are beginning to fall all over the country. In some parts of the country, snow has already begun. Regardless of if you live where it snows or rains during winter, there are certain steps you should take to prepare your car for the colder winter months. While it is always a good idea to take your car in for regular maintenance, here are 5 easy winter car care tips to help ensure your car is ready for winter.
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Check Your Battery
Did you know a car’s battery loses 33% of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and as much as 60% when the temperature gets below zero? Before freezing weather gets here to stay, give your battery once-over to ensure it’s performing optimally. Check to make sure the battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free, and that the battery has all the water it needs. If your battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge.
Check engine coolant and antifreeze levels
Antifreeze keeps your engine from freezing during those cold winter months. Without it, your engine really can freeze, leaving you in a bind at a time when it’s dangerous to be stranded. Make sure you check the level of antifreeze in your vehicle’s overflow tank. If you do not know how to do this, check in your vehicle’s owner manual. If the level is low, add more. You also need to check that you have the proper coolant mix. This is something you can either do yourself by buying a kit at almost any auto parts store, or you can take your car to a certified mechanic.
Check Engine Oil and Consider Switching To a Thinner Weight
Always check your engine’s oil at the start of a new season. Did you know that cold weather thickens the engine oil, which forces the car battery to work double time to get your car running smoothly? One way you can give your battery a break and prevent potential engine problems is by switching over to a thinner oil. However, be sure to consult your owner’s manual for notes on compatibility. It’s also a good idea to have the oil filter changed to maintain fluidity as well.
Check tire pressure and tread depth
Good tire tread and proper air pressure levels are key to staying on the road and keeping safe when snow and ice are falling from the sky. Ensure your tires are in good shape by following these few simple steps.
First, check your tire pressure with a simple gauge sold at any auto supply store. Follow your manual’s recommendations for pressure level, and if your tires need air, fill them up at the gas station.
Second, make sure your tires have appropriate amounts of tread on them. The easiest way to check is by performing the “Lincoln test”. Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing inward towards the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need to replace the tire.
If you live where snow and ice are common, you may want to consider installing winter tires, as they can make a huge difference when it comes to getting around.
Switch to Winter Wiper Blades and Cold Weather Washer Fluid
Check your wiper blades to ensure they are still in good working order. If you see any tearing or separating, it’s time to get a new set. You may also want to consider investing in a pair of winter blades which are built to withstand winter precipitation and freezing cold. Most winter blades have a protective rubber shell that prevents ice and snow from hardening on the wiper.
While you’re thinking about windshield wipers, some car safety experts also suggest switching over to cold weather washer fluid, or any brand containing antifreeze.
While many of these winter car care tips can easily be done at home, if you are not comfortable doing them yourself, make sure you take your car to a certified mechanic. If live in or around Freeport, New York, the mechanics at Paul Conte Chevrolet can help you with all your winter car care needs.