Winter is finally here, which means gearing up for some driving conditions and maintaining your vehicle is essential. While you can’t control the weather, there is a lot you can do to ensure you are prepared for whatever comes your way. This article will discuss some important maintenance tips and driving strategies to follow during the winter months.
One significant hazard with winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in the day, meaning there is less daylight, especially on your commute home from work. Because of this, you will want to do everything you possibly can to ensure all of your vehicle’s lights are in excellent shape, providing the brightest possible illumination they can. If a bulb is out, fix it now, and if there’s snow or ice covering any exterior light, make sure you remove it before setting off to drive anywhere. If the headlights on your car are foggy or yellow, consider replacing them or look into an easy restoration kit.
It is usually more difficult for a battery to operate in cold weather than it is for it to operate in warm weather. Because of this, a battery that is merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter. A volt test should be performed on your battery to make sure it is still in good working order. If it isn’t, you should be a new battery as soon as possible so you will never have to worry about being stranded or left in a cold parking lot with a car that won’t start.
Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is extremely crucial to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. It is important to make sure your vehicle is not low on coolant and that there are not any leaks in your engine that could cause coolant to drain out. We recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix coolant and water in their radiators, which typically results in a lower engine freezing point than just coolant.
Gasoline and Washer Fluid
You may be wondering what gasoline and washer fluid could possibly have in common. The answer is that they are two automotive items you should try to keep full during the colder months. Your gas tank should be kept full for several reasons, including the fact that a full tank may prevent accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump and can help you stay warm by allowing the engine to stay running in case you get stuck. In addition, a full windshield-washer reservoir is extremely important, as messy road debris from a storm can sometimes necessitate constant window washing to see where you are going.
Tires and Tire Pressure
While all-wheel drive is confidence-inspiring when you are accelerating, it doesn’t help you when you are braking and turning. Winter tires are important to have in areas where the temperature regularly drops below 45 degrees, as they are more capable of staying flexible at low temperatures. This means that they can provide improved traction when you are trying to stop and turn on cold pavement, even if there is no snow or ice on the ground.
It is also critical to keep track of your tire pressure as temperatures get colder. This is because the pressure can drop along with the air temperature, which loses up to one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in air temperature. Driving around with low tire pressure can result in premature tire wear or potential tread separation, which can lead to a major accident. In addition, your vehicle handles less predictably with under-inflated tires. If your check your tire pressure and find that one or more of your tires are low on air, make sure to fill them up at a gas station air pump and don’t forget to let out a little air as temperatures start to climb again in the spring.
Defroster and Climate Control
Make sure to check your car’s window defroster and its climate control system to ensure both items are still working efficiently. The purpose of these items are obvious: The climate control system will help keep you warm during the winter (and can help keep your windows from fogging up), while the defroster will keep your windows from icing up. Both items are important to maintaining comfort and safety throughout the winter.
Always Plan for the Worst
Even if you do all the proper pre-planning and maintenance, along with incorporating best driving practices on the road, you simply never know what could happen. It is never a bad thing to carry a few essentials just in case: a shovel, a snow brush/ice scraper, a fully charged cell phone, warm clothing and a blanket, and so on and so forth.
These are just a few winter car maintenance tips. Contact Autoworks with the link below for more information!