Cold weather is approaching rapidly, which means you need to start making some seasonal changes. Besides your wardrobe and backyard furniture, another thing that needs a cold-weather transformation is your car. That, of course, assuming you care about your money and want your car to keep working as good as possible.
At first, you may not understand how spending money on new tyres, fluid changes, maintenance checks and new wipers us actually helping you save money. Well, these are just small expenses compared to the investments you would have to make if the car breaks down because it wasn’t properly winterized.
If you want to make sure you have not missed any step of the winterizing process, here are some essential tips to keep in mind. Make a checklist and ensure every step is completed before winter comes.
Check the battery’s life
Car batteries are very durable, but extreme weather conditions can put an end to their life, especially if it’s an old battery we are talking about. Before temperatures drop, make sure to inspect your car’s battery and check for any corrosion. If you find any, it’s time to consider replacing it with a new one.
Consider going to a professional to inspect the battery and see if it needs recharging or replacing. The last thing you want to do is having to go to the car shop early in the morning because your car won’t start no matter what.
Try to avoid putting too much strain on your car’s battery during the winter and let your vehicle warm up in the morning, before going on the road. This will preserve battery life and help your car get through winter without issues.
Switch to winter tyres
Tyres are very important for safe driving, so you need to ensure they are in proper condition before winter comes. If You have all-season tyres, check to see if they need replacement, and if you have summer tyres, then definitely go to a professional to have them changes ones that are suited for winter. There are plenty of mobile tyre sales this time of year, as many people are looking to make the seasonal shift.
The reason why you need to change your tyres is that winter-season tyres provide better traction, grip, control, and shorter brake distance.
Do make sure to check tyre pressure every once in a while, especially if temperatures drop too low. If the tyre pressure is low, it can decrease gas mileage and also make your tires wear out faster.
Have your brakes inspected regularly
Cold weather, icy roads, moisture, and salt are going to put much more pressure on your brakes, so you need to ensure your brake system works flawlessly before the winter season comes. Schedule a maintenance visit to your local auto service and ask them to check your brakes before the winter season. They will be able to tell you if there is any issue going on, and we recommend you change the brakes immediately if the case asks for it, or else it can lead to severe issues.
Moisture and salt can lead to rust on the rotors, which minimizes their performance and can leave you prone to disasters, so make sure you schedule as second inspection mid-season, to ensure things work as they are supposed to. Remember that winter is a much more complex season than summer, and roads can get from cold and icy to wet and slushy in no time.
Switch to winter fluids
During winter, engine coolant needs to be mixed with 50% water and 50%. When coolant levels drop, make sure to top it off with antifreeze instead of water, so that it does not become diluted over time and freeze during cold winter temperatures. If this happens, your engine can overheat and this will leave you with a very large repair bill from the auto shop.
Change your wiper fluid to a winter type as well, to protect it from freezing over, and to make ice on your windshield melt faster. This will also prevent your wiper blades from degrading when you try to wipe off the layer of ice that forms on the car windows.
If you have an oil change scheduled soon, ask the mechanic about winter-grade oil as well, as it can help your car adapt to cold weather much easier.
Keep your gas tank as full as possible
During winter, moisture is your worse enemy, as it can quickly freeze or dilute certain liquids that run through the car, including gas.
If there is a lot of room left in the gas tank and moisture starts to build up, it can quickly dilute the fuel, which harms your car’s pumps. If moisture starts to freeze, then damage can be even worse. The more gas you keep in the tank, the less room there is for moisture to build up, so it is recommended you keep your tank at least half full during the winter.
Store an emergency kit in your trunk
Especially if you like to take road trips during winter time, you need to have an emergency kit stored in your trunk. Sure, it may take up space, and you may be tempted to skip this step, but if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, late at night, you will be thanking yourself for doing this.
Your emergency kit should contain:
- A blanket
- An extra pair of gloves, boots and warm clothes
- Non-perishable foods and water
- A flashlight
- A small shovel and ice scraper
- Tyre chains
- A tool kit
- Jumper cables
- A bag of sand or salt to provide traction
- A first aid kit
In addition to the items mentioned above, you should also have a spare tyre and tyre-changing equipment in your car, in case a flat tyre hits you when you least expect it.
The tips above are meant to help prevent your car from suffering damage during the winter, and also keep yourself and those in the car safe. Remember that winter is a much more challenging season, so you will have to take extra measures of precaution to ensure a safe drive when temperatures start to drop.