Winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers. But inconvenient terrain isn’t the only thing to watch out for.
Car maintenance is much more involved during cold weather months. Here are 9 car tips for winter you need to know to keep your car safe.
1. Start Your Car
Sustainability is all the rage. People look for alternative methods of transportation to simplify their commute and help the environment.
But during the winter months, you don’t want your car to be left unused for too long. The gas can go stale and your tires will begin to develop flat spots.
The best way to keep your engine in tip-top shape is to start your car every few weeks. It’s the best way to keep fluids in good condition.
Aim to keep your car running for around 15 minutes so that it has a moment to warm up and run at a normal temperature for a few minutes. It’s not necessary to actually drive it around, but if you can take it on an errand or two, it couldn’t hurt.
2. Use Your Garage
It’s no secret that garage kept cars are just better than other vehicles. They have less paint damage and issues with humidity.
But garage kept cars also help your car weather the winter with ease. If you’re interested in keeping your car protected from the elements this winter, consider keeping it in your garage instead of parking in the driveway.
It might leave you with more work in case you need to shovel snow later, but it’ll protect your car from things like hail damage and rapid changes in temperature.
3. Check Fluid Levels Regularly
It’s a good idea to keep fluids in motion during the winter. When you drive your car in the cold, you are helping to keep the engine lubricated.
You’re also helping to prevent water from freezing in your fuel pump. Make sure you consistently use your windshield wiper fluid so it doesn’t go bad during the winter.
Check your fluid levels regularly to learn opportunities to refill fluids before you’re potentially stranded on the side of the road.
4. Get Your Battery Tested
Batteries are testy in the winter. You have to check on your battery often during the winter to make sure it’s in stable condition.
The easiest way to check the condition of your battery is using professional battery testing equipment. You can usually get your battery tested at an auto parts store or by visiting a credible mechanic.
In addition to testing the strength of your battery, you also need to check your battery’s fluid levels each month. Avoid removing any cables or caps unless you’re skilled at replacing them.
These parts can create problems in your car’s ability to transmit power. You definitely want your battery in top-notch condition before pursuing any car alarm installation.
5. Check Tire Pressure Each Week
One of the most important car tips for winter you should follow is making sure your tires are well inflated each day. Underinflated tires are dangerous.
Your car’s tire can suddenly lose pressure leading to a flat. Expect your tire pressure to drop automatically when the temperature drops.
On average, your car tire pressure drops a pound in pressure with every 10 degrees in a temperature drop. Keep your tire pressure high to avoid premature wear and tear.
Worn down tires can mean losing traction on slippery roads when the streets ice over. Most cars have a tire pressure display on the menu to show you current tire pressure levels.
6. Keep Fuel Levels High
Keep at least one half tank of gas in your car during the winter months. The first reason is obvious.
You could break down or have car trouble that leaves you on the side of the road for hours. Running out of gas can be dangerous if temperature levels aren’t below safe levels.
You want to keep your car warm while you wait for help. This is especially true if you’re planning a road trip.
Make sure you’ve looked up gas station stops before setting out so you don’t run the risk of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
7. Raise Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are often overlooked in car tips for winter. This is because they aren’t essential to cold weather driving.
The exception is if you live in an area that regularly gets snow and ice. Windshield wipers are vital to maintaining high visibility when driving through snow.
Leave your windshield wipers raised every night so they don’t end up freezing onto your windshield.
8. Add a Coat of Wax
Did you know that a coat of wax can help protect your paint from things like hail and salt from the road? Try adding a coat of polymer wax before the onset of cold weather in your area. You can often last the entire winter season on one coat of wax.
Combine your wax paint job with high-pressure car washes following each winter storm that includes snow, sleet or grime. Make sure you include hard to reach areas like wheel wells and underbody.
9. Get an Oil Change
The oil in your car can go bad over time. It’s a good idea to pay attention to how the cold weather affects your oil quality.
During winter, your car’s oil gets thicker meaning it’s harder to circulate through the engine. This puts a strain on your motor which impacts the other systems in your car.
Navigating Car Tips for Winter
The most important car tips for winter protect you from non-weather related emergencies. If you can follow these preventative tips, you’ll be less likely to find yourself in an avoidable emergency.
Some emergencies are worsened when you’re careless with simple maintenance like keeping a full tank of gas. But you can easily skip these setbacks by keeping your car in top condition.
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