Don’t let your car go through a harsh winter season unequipped or unprotected. As many may know, cold weather can be an unforgiving time for vehicles. Cars are at a greater risk for breaking down and have trouble starting.
Avoid the inconvenience and large expense of emergency charges later down the road by following a series steps to prepare your car before the temperatures begin to drop.
Check the Battery
Your car battery is extremely vulnerable to cold weather. Batteries contain chemicals that produce electrons, which create a chemical reaction to start the engine. However, if the battery is cold, this chemical reaction will take place at a much slower rate. It creates great difficulty for the engine and can cause it to slowly crank. Therefore, to avoid this problem make sure you have a professional inspect the battery and the charging system. You may also want to look into investing in block heater, which plugs into the wall to keep the engine warm.
Monitor your Fluids
Every two years your fluids should be replaced, but make sure you are regularly checking them. These fluids include antifreeze for the cooling system, cleaning fluid and flush fluid. Antifreeze is extremely important in the winter as it can prevent the coolant from freezing and gaskets from blowing. It also cuts back on corrosion from occurring and protects against hot and freezing temperatures. The antifreeze should be mixed 50:50 with water and can be purchased pre-mixed at a local automotive store. Colder temperatures also cause the oil in your car to thicken, which can lead to poor engine performance. The oil is used to lubricate the metal surfaces in your engine and prevent them from rubbing together. Your owner’s manual should tell you the ideal oil thickness and offer thinner oil types.
In cold conditions, your windshield wipers are likely to freeze to your windshield. To prevent damaging the wiper rotor make sure to turn your wipers off after driving.
Make sure to monitor your gas tank and keep it above half-full at all times. In extremely cold temperatures, condensation can build up in a near empty tank. This condensation can lead to your fuel line freezing and could prevent your car from starting
Ensure that your tire tread depth and pressure are in good shape. With colder weather, you should check your tire pressure because roughly every 10 degree decrease in temperature will result in your tire pressure decreasing by 1 psi. Deflated tires close up the treads on your tires and significantly reduce traction, which increases the likelihood of sliding or hydroplaning. They also sell special winter or snow tires, which offer improved traction, braking and control for better performance in harsh conditions.
It is also a good idea to have an emergency pack in your car that includes salt. If your car gets stuck, you can sprinkle some salt around the inhibited areas to increase traction so you can be on your way.
In order to maintain your vehicle health and longevity, it is essential that you put forth the effort to ensure your car is prepared before the winter season comes. Do not wait until your car begins to show it has problems because it will cost you time and money.
Written by the staff of Custom Complete Automotive. Custom Complete is your go to solution for the best car repair, inspections and an oil change Columbia MO has to offer.