Winter can be especially harsh for your car. The cold temperatures, snow and moist this season brings can zap the life out of your vehicle, resulting to costly repairs. For sure, the last thing you want is to get stranded in the middle of the street on a cold winter day, desperately waiting for somebody to rescue you. To avoid such nightmare and save yourself significant amount of cash, here are some winter car care tips you should implement now.
Wax it good. To protect your car’s finish, give its entire body some good waxing. This will also help the snow to slide off easily for faster cleaning.
Pay your technician a visit. If your car is due for a tune-up, be sure to do so early on this winter to avoid existing problems, such as pings, slow performance and hard starts, from getting worse. Have the technician check the belts and hoses to see if they need replacements as well as the battery and charging system, making sure they are not corroded. It is also a good idea to have the oil changed to a lighter weight to keep your vehicle’s parts well lubricated.
Additionally, let the technician look at your car’s brakes and lights to ensure they are working properly and exhaust system to know if there are carbon monoxide leaks. The latter problem is hazardous when driving during winter when windows are closed.
Keep an eye out on the tires. Worn tires can be especially dangerous during winter as they can lead to road accidents. So if yours is due for replacement, do not wait out until the temperatures hit their lowest. Also, ensure they are properly inflated to get better fuel economy and fend off flat tires. If you live in an area where snowfall is significant, having snow tires is a good investment.
Take note of the fluids. Your car’s fluids play an integral role in keeping it in good running condition. Unfortunately, some of them can be affected by cold temperatures. Take the time to inspect the cooling system of your car. If there is too much water in it and not enough anti-freeze, it can get stuck up due to freezing temperatures, which can eventually result to engine-related breakdown. Also, do not allow the gas tank to drop below the halfway mark to prevent the gas lines from freezing. Equally important is to top up your windshield washer fluid with winter fluid.
Regularly wash your car. To keep grime, de-icing chemicals and salt off your car, give it a good wash at least every 10 days. If you need to wash your car but it is cold outside, watch out for the door lock mechanisms as they can get wet, which can result for the locks to freeze. To avoid that, spray graphite into the slot and push your key in until the graphite is deep into the slot.
Always have an emergency kit. Even if you have completely checked your car, you can never tell when disaster will strike. As such, it always pays to be prepared. Keep an emergency kit in place, which includes your own winter gear (ex. hats, gloves, jacket, etc.), jumper cables, flashlight, flares and basic tools.