If you appreciate your car, then you need to show it a little love now and then. Getting an oil change every once in a while isn’t quite enough. Cars need regular maintenance. More importantly, they need preparation for big shifts in the seasons. The things that harm a car in the summer are nothing like the threats of winter. It’s always best to prepare a car for winter when you can. Even if you’re a little behind, some winter maintenance tips are worth your while. It’s never too late to protect your car, so consider these tips while winter is upon you.
Car washes are often associated with spring and summer activities. When the weather is nice, people don’t mind hosing down the car and making it sparkle. In reality, car washes tend to be more important in the winter. For starters, salted roads wreak havoc on any part of the car that isn’t galvanized. Frequent car washes prevent salt corrosion and help your vehicle live a long and happy life.
Even when salt isn’t an issue, mud and ice can be. It’s particularly rough when it’s cold enough for mud to stay frozen or refreeze every night. A good washing can free your undercarriage, and you’ll spare the vehicle from a fair amount of wear and tear that comes from the expansion and contraction of freezing and thawing mud.
Tire pressure is a simpler issue than washing your car throughout the winter. It’s simple enough. When the weather gets cold enough, it affects the air pressure, and it can cause your tires to run a little low. The problem can be insidious because it might not be visible to the naked eye. All you have to do is keep an eye on your tire pressure and give the tires a little air when they need it. It will reduce wear on the tires, and it will improve your control and stopping power when you have to drive in inclement weather.
Antifreeze should be checked at least every time you change your oil. That said, an extra check before the first big cold spell of the winter is important. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your antifreeze has degraded or otherwise been compromised. If it fails, you’re looking at very expensive damage. Anywhere that offers multi-point inspections will check the freezing temperature of your coolant. That’s all you need to protect your car from the very worst damage winter can bring.
Windshield wipers tend to decay in hot summers, so it’s always nice to consider replacing them before winter kicks into high gear. Assuming you have good wipers, a few tips will keep them from being destroyed by the winter. When the car is off, leave the wipers raised. That will prevent them from being frozen to the windshield (in most cases). More importantly, don’t use the wipers to try to scrape ice from the windshield. They’re not good at it and you’ll destroy your fresh, new wipers.
Electronics struggle with cold weather. So do batteries. It’s always good to get your battery tested before the cold hits its peak. When temperatures get really low, they’ll expose any battery that is past its prime. You won’t just be stranded; you’ll be stranded in the coldest weather of the year. It’s not pleasant, so take a little time for a complimentary battery test.
Lots of improvised ice scrapers can damage your windshield. The only thing worse than trying to see out of a frosted windshield is trying to see out of a frosted windshield with lots of scratches. It’s worth investing in a designated ice scraper. If you get one that is long and has a brush, it’ll keep your hands from getting as cold when you do the deed. You can also quickly and easily brush away loose snow.
If you find yourself in a pinch without a scraper, a retired credit or ID card can save the day. Your hands will get cold if you don’t have gloves, but at least you won’t damage the windshield.
It’s always important to protect your car, and winter weather is a real threat to any motor vehicle. If you’re not up to going through a do-it-yourself checklist, you can always schedule a winter preparation appointment. You can let the pros go through a multi-point inspection and make sure all of the important parts of your vehicle are ready for a cold spell.