Winter is a rough time for drivers, especially if you live in the Northern hemisphere where there is a lot of sleet, snow, and slush on the roads. Your safety on the road and your car’s functionality depend a lot on how well your car is maintained during the rough, winter months. Follow these winter car care and maintenance tips to prevent long-term damage to your car and care-free driving on the winter roads this year.
Early Bird Preparation
Some elements for your car’s winter preparations and maintenance should start way before winter rolls in. In fall, it’s a good idea to get your car waxed to add a protective coat before it starts pouring rain, hail, and snow. It’s also an optimal time to assess just what you will need this upcoming winter. Do you already have your winter tires on hand? Will your car require an oil change? It’s never too early to start planning your checklist beforehand so you don’t have to worry about last-minute expenses or trips to the mechanic popping up.
Check Your Car Battery
A strong car battery is a necessity to make it through winter since it typically requires more power to operate during colder weather. Make sure to carry out a self-assessment or get the battery checked by a professional to see if it has weakened or is good to go. A car battery checkup isn’t just relevant in winter, you can get it checked in the summertime as well. This will help you understand your expenses ahead of time in winter. If your battery is already weak in summer, it will most likely fail by the time winter rolls around. Regular checkups of the battery can’t do you any harm.
Swap to Winter Tires
Changing to winter tires may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised by how many drivers put off switching their summer tires until it’s deep into winter, or not at all! Invest in a durable pair of snow tires and drive for the entire season carefree. Be careful not to switch your tires too late or too early. If you change to winter tires before there is noticeable snowfall or rainfall, you’ll risk wearing out the tires on the rough, dry roads. Wait too long and your car may be unprepared for the first snowfall and have a higher risk of being involved in a road accident. The ideal time for a winter tire change is just at the start of the season as the temperature begins to significantly drop.
Windshield Wiper Care
Your car’s windshield wiper may seem like a low-maintenance part of the car, but during colder months it can be a real pain if not cared for properly. Firstly, no one wants frozen windshield wipers that make a screeching noise on the glass early in the morning. Any time you leave your car unattended outside for a long period of time in the winter, make sure to adjust your wipers in a raised position. This will prevent it from freezing on a frosty night. In regards to the wiper blades themselves, it’s best to change them every year if you feel they aren’t functioning as well as new. You may even want to look into getting a pair of specialized wintertime wiper blades.
Manage Car Fluids
Each of your car’s fluids has a designated role which becomes even more crucial to maintain during the winter to avoid unfortunate situations. To start, check if you have enough windshield wiper fluid and refill accordingly. You’ll need to use your windshields more often during snowstorms and surely don’t want the liquid running out midway. Look into getting wiper fluid that has a low freezing point to withstand the cold temperatures
Next, make sure your car’s gas tank is full or at least half-full of gasoline as often as possible. You may not realize it, but your car typically uses more gas on rough winter roads than any other time of the year. Your car may also require an oil change when shifting through seasons for oil that is thinner and of a different viscosity than usual. Check your owner’s manual or ask a mechanic to help determine what type of oil is best for your car during the winter. Last, but not least, take a look at your Antifreeze to make sure you’re all set to go.
With all of these winter car care and maintenance tips in mind, you’ll ensure safe and smooth driving on the winter roads ahead while preserving your car’s, and its parts, lifespan.