8 Basic Winter Car Care Tips!

Driving in Winter Weather - winter car tips

Winter Car Care Tips

Winter weather is all about being prepared. Perhaps you add storm windows to your home, or make sure your fuel oil tank is filled. You shouldn’t ignore your car or truck when thinking about winter preparedness. A little time and money ahead of time will get you where you need to go when winter hits. Let’s look at 8 winter car care tips that correspond with 8 parts of your car that you should inspect or determine are ready for cold weather.

1 – Lights

It gets dark earlier, and stays that way longer, in winter months. Car lighting is critical both for you to see where you are going, and for other drivers to see you. Do a thorough inspection of all your car’s lighting. Replace broken or burned out bulbs, buy a haze-removing kit for your headlight covers if they are getting cloudy, and always remember to brush off snow from all outside lights before you start driving. You don’t want to be on your way in the dark and suddenly realize your headlight is out. Check it now.

2 – Battery and electrical system

Is your battery getting a bit old? Did it seem a bit sluggish when starting the car in warmer weather? These are good reasons to consider replacing your battery now. At least get a battery test performed by a dealer or automotive parts supplier. Batteries have to work a lot harder when the weather turns cold, and older batteries may not have enough residual power to start a cold car engine. The dealer can also test that your alternator is charging the battery because you will be quickly stranded if it isn’t working correctly.

3 – Antifreeze coolant

This is the lifeblood of your engine, keeping it cool in the summer and protecting if from freezing in the winter. Antifreeze coolant can last for many years but should be tested periodically to determine if it needs replacement. If you intend to do that yourself, only use the product recommended for your vehicle, and follow the directions to mix the new coolant with water in the proper ratio. Also check for any coolant leaks and the condition of all radiator and other rubber hoses. Replace them if they appear cracked or are not soft and resilient.

4 – Other Fluids

Gasoline and washer fluid are also present in your car, and are often forgotten. If a storm is imminent, fill up your gas tank ahead of time. A full tank is less likely to create water that can muck up your fuel system. More important is that a full tank gives you more gas to keep warm if you get stranded. Washer fluid needs to stay liquid to work properly, so buy washer fluid with a low freezing point. It’s shown on the label. Never use plain water — it will freeze quickly in cold weather. Important reminder — if you get stuck in your car in a snowstorm, make sure you get out periodically and clear the snow away from your exhaust pipe at the rear of the car. You can die from carbon monoxide poisoning if the exhaust is trapped by wind-blown snow.

5 – Tires

You can benefit from winter-rated tires in very cold weather because they are designed to remain flexible in cold weather. Flexible means more tread touching the road surface, so you will have more traction.

6 – Tire Pressures

Tire pressures drop as the outside temperature falls, so check your tire pressures regularly. Also, under inflated tires will handle poorly and can cause accidents, so keep those pressures at recommended levels. Don’t over inflate them, thinking more pressure is better. Over-inflation reduces traction and can lead to handling issues.

7 – Heat and Defrost

Check that your car’s heater works properly before you need it. Also, make sure the windshield and rear window defrosters are working correctly. A bad time to find out they don’t is in the middle of a storm.

8 – Preparing Yourself for Bad Weather

Have you ever considered putting a survival bag in the trunk of your car during the winter? Perhaps you should. A couple of blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a weather radio you can crank for power and to charge your phone, even some dry food if you don’t have a mice problem in your area. All of these items can be life-saving if you are trapped in your car. An empty plastic bottle can be used to collect snow for drinking water. You don’t need a stove or burner, assuming you filled that gas tank up before you left, because the warm air inside the car will melt the snow.

Major World wants you to be prepared for winter weather. We have professional service technicians who can go over your car carefully and make recommendations prior to and during the winter season. Have your car ready and you can get through winter without a problem by following our maintenance schedule. We can also provide tips on how to get rid of scratches and dents. Stop by and see us or give us a call at our Used Car Dealership, while you’re here, you can see which restaurants are our favorites in Newark and how liability insurance works.

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