There is no denying that winter brings a lot of changes into our lives – some of them pleasant, some of them not so much. You see, for every eggnog, winter break, and Christmas movie out there, you get snow-bound roads, frozen sidewalks, and countless car breakdowns. It’s just how winter works.
Well, except for the car breakdowns.
No matter what kind of weather you’re facing, proper maintenance can keep your vehicle running smoothly all season long. So, let’s take a look at a couple of tips that will help you address this issue so you can enjoy the more whimsical side of wintertime.
Keep the battery in good shape
Car batteries and low temperatures don’t mix well. Not even the slightest. As a matter of fact, a battery with a low charge can freeze already at a moderately low temperature of -1 °C (33.8 °F). What can we do to prevent this from happening? Well, for a start, juice the battery up. Second, keep the terminals clean of dirt and debris. If you notice any kind of corrosion, don’t worry. Just mix one tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of water, dip in an old toothbrush and gently remove the corrosion from the terminals.
Ensure good visibility
During the winter, road visibility tends to get pretty horrific due to dense fog and frequent snowstorms. Don’t make this situation any worse by allowing your windshield and windscreens to catch frost. As for the windshield, replacing the regular wiper blades with rubber-clad winter alternatives and using freeze-resistant wiper fluid is a good place to start. The windscreens can be made more frost-resistant if they are sprayed with a mix of vinegar and alcohol. Just keep boiling water as far as possible.
Replace the worn-out parts
The fact that vehicles are vulnerable to winter is, by now, a common knowledge. However, the first parts to go when the snow arrives are usually the ones that are already worn out. Low temperatures only make the whole thing move faster. That is why you should give your car a detailed inspection and replace all the items that look out of shape. If you think this overhaul will strain your household budget, the best aftermarket car parts feature a similar quality as original products but come at a much lower price.
Take care of the essential fluids
Even if you are not that familiar with the inner workings of your vehicle, you probably know that every car needs certain fluids to keep the mechanical parts cool and running smoothly. Low temperatures tend to mess with these liquids quite a bit. Still, the two things you should keep in focus are:
- Antifreeze – The liquid that stops the engine’s cooling system from freezing. Antifreeze is replaced every 12 months but you can move this task to the start of the winter season.
- Motor oil – Motor oil lubricates your engine and allows it to move without any hiccups. It is highly recommended to replace your regular oil with the one featuring a low viscosity grade (25W, 20W, 15W, 10W, 5W, and 0W).
Buy yourself a set of winter tires
In most countries in the world, the use of winter tires is prescribed by law as early as November. At least if the roads are covered by snow. But, even if that’s not the case, you should keep in mind that the tires are what keep your vehicle on the ground. The summer pneumatics may not provide the best traction on icy surfaces. So, change your current set with tires that feature a tread pattern and depth appropriate for winter conditions. All-season tires are okay, but you’ll have more luck with two separate sets.
Keep the fuel tank full
Although this practice is not recommended during other seasons, winter sets its own rules. Namely, if your tank is near-empty, the big difference in temperature can cause condensation. When the vehicle cools off, this liquid can turn into ice, enter the fuel, and then all hell breaks loose. Therefore, as irritating as this may sound, you should keep the tank at least ¼ full. Also, having a generous supply of fuel can only help you during traffic jams and other emergency situations.
We hope these few tips will help you to remove at least one entry from the naughty list and move the holiday-spirit pointer in a more positive direction. The winter season tends to throw a couple of nasty curveballs at us. Some of them can be dealt with, some not. The maintenance of your vehicle definitely belongs to the first group. So, keep your four-wheeler in good shape and enjoy all the pleasant things holidays have to offer.