Winter Vehicle Maintenance Tips

Published on

December 6, 2019

Winter is just around the corner. For many drivers looking to head to the snow, that also means the challenges of winter car ownership are just around the corner.  How can you make sure your car is well cared for during the difficult winter months? We've listed five simple car care tips that can go a long way toward making sure your car stays in great shape all winter long.

Lighting
One major hazard with winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in the day, which means there's less daylight, especially on your commute home. As a result, you'll want to do everything you possibly can to make sure all of your vehicle's lights are in excellent shape, providing the brightest possible illumination they can. If a bulb is out, fix it now.  If you do head to the snow, make sure that there is not any snow covering any exterior light. If you do have snow on your exterior lights, make sure you remove it before setting off to drive anywhere. If your headlights are foggy or yellow, consider replacing them or look into an easy restoration kit.

Battery
Cold weather takes a toll on your battery.  As a result, a battery that's merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter. Our advice is to have a volt test performed on your battery before winter starts to make sure it's still in good working order. If it isn't, buy a new battery as soon as possible so you'll never have to worry about being stranded or left in a cold parking lot with a car that won't start.

Coolant
Your vehicle's coolant is important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before you head into winter driving, make sure your car isn't low on coolant and that there aren't any leaks in your vehicle's engine that could cause coolant to drain out. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water in their radiators, which usually results in a lower engine freezing point than just coolant.

Gasoline and Washer Fluid
You might be wondering what gasoline and washer fluid could possibly have in common. The answer is that they are two automotive items you should try to keep full during the winter. You should try to keep your gas tank full for several reasons, like the fact that a full tank may prevent accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump and can help you stay warm by allowing the engine to stay running in case you get stuck. Meanwhile, a full windshield-washer reservoir is tremendously important, as messy road debris from a snowstorm can sometimes necessitate constant window washing to see where you're going.

Tire Pressure
It's incredibly important to keep track of your tire pressure as temperatures get colder. This is because tire pressure can drop along with the air temperature, losing up to one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in air temperature. Driving around with low tire pressure could mean premature tire wear or potential tread separation, which could lead to a major accident. Also, your car handles less predictably with under-inflated tires. Keep your tires inflated to the manufacturers recommendations and your vehicle will perform better for you.

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