Your car deserves as much attention as your garage. From keeping it well maintained and being extra cautious no matter what season, there are plenty of ways you can give your rod a TLC. One of the most important ways to do so is taking extra care of it during the winter.
Winterizing your car is not just for cars that were manufactured before the 1980’s. In fact, it’s still equally crucial especially if you want it performing at its prime during the harshest of weathers. Otherwise, you’re not just compromising your car’s performance. You’re also risking your safety, along with everyone else in it with you.
The good news is we’ve done the dirty work for you and compiled tips on how to winterize your car. So just before the snowy months arrive, keep the following things in mind.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car
One of the simplest yet most efficient ways you can stay prepared during the winter while inside your car is packing an emergency kit. From primary tools to bottles of engine oil, washer fluid and coolant, be sure to have some in stock inside your trunk. Furthermore, flashlights and flares would be a great addition to your emergency kit. Even if you’re already wearing a coat and gloves, make sure to bring extra as well as a different pair of boots. Anything can happen and the best way to deal with it is being prepared.
- Change your tires
During winter, the roads are extra wet and slippery. You’re also bound to traverse through thick, snow-clad trails that will challenge your car. The next best thing to do is to make sure you are using the right tires for the season. For example, there are all-season tires you can invest on that will work just as well during the winter. Another is investing on snow tires to change all four. Otherwise, you might still encounter other problems. You could also try using snow tires with studs if you’re living off-road and passing through some of the most uneven and toughest paths.
- Check your battery
Your battery works twice as hard during the winter, since the cold weather makes it doubly hard for the engine start. In fact, at 5 degrees F, a fully charged lead-acid battery has only half its rated amp-hour capacity. So before driving off, make sure your batteries are still well-powered. Have a mechanic check everything to see if yours need to be replaced. Otherwise, it’s still best to keep a spare in your trunk just in case. The last thing you want is for your engine to die with an anticipated snowstorm coming up.
- Change your oil’s viscosity
In case you haven’t heard, the oil in your car has a very hard time circulating inside your engine during winter. It’s because the cold weather thickens it and reduces its effectiveness. That’s why it’s incredibly challenging to make your car run during this time. The trick is to change your oil to a thinner one to begin with. Check your car’s manual so you know the viscosity of the oil you’ll need.
- Go for an antifreeze solution
Often, we get so engrossed in winter-proofing our car through our engine and tires that we forget its other components. Do you know how much trouble your windshield gets into during this season? A lot, which makes it harder and riskier for you to drive out in the cold. The solution is to wash your windshield with an antifreeze solution. Just be cautious on what you buy. Otherwise, it can damage your car paint.
- Maintain a full tank
If you’re the type whose habit is to keep their tank at an all time low before refueling, then you might want to kick that habit away right now. Not only does it increase your chances of getting stranded out in the snow. Once your tank is empty, water can make its way down there and freeze, ultimately blocking any gas that could otherwise make your car run. That’s not only dangerous but also quite expensive to repair.
- Park better
When you have an open garage at home, the risk of creating car problems during the winter is higher. There are a lot of ways you can park better, but Lifehacker explains it best with the good old tennis ball trick: “What you can do to solve this problem is attach a tennis ball to some string and hang it from the garage ceiling at a point where it will touch your car’s windshield. That point should be at the exact spot you want to pull in when parking. This way you’ll always know how far to go and never pull in too deep.”