While we still have some warm days left in this year, winter will be here soon enough and with it, freezing temperatures. The snow and cold weather can negatively affect different parts of your car. Make sure your car is ready to face the winter roads this year and to maintain the optimal performance.
Here are some helpful tips to get your car ready and reduce the risk of being stranded:
- Inspect Your Tires: Check your tires for wear & tear and measure your tread depth. New tires have a tread at about 12/32”, if your tires have been worn down to about 4/32”, it is time to replace them. They are getting too worn to perform well in wet or snowy conditions. You can purchase a tire depth gauge at any major auto parts store, and they are simple to use.
- Check Your Antifreeze: Make sure you have enough antifreeze in your car and that it is the correct mixture. Your water/antifreeze mixture should be at least 50/50. Your mechanic or an auto parts store can help you with verifying the mixture. Higher water content can freeze and cause cracks in the radiator resulting in expensive repairs.
- Check You Battery: Your car battery is one of the most affected parts of your car in winter weather and most common one to fail. Cold weather impacts the performance of your battery reducing it’s output. Have your battery checked by your mechanic or any major auto parts store. If you need to replace it, consider buying a battery with a high cold-crank rating. A weak battery can leave you stranded unable to start the vehicle.
- Replace Wipers and Check Windshield Washer Fluid: Cold weather and road salt can damage your wipers. You will be using your wipers more often during the winter months to wash of the slush and salt from your windshield. Wipers should be replaced every 12 months to maintain peak performance. Make sure to frequently check your windshield washer fluid in your car and only add fluid that can withstand temperatures of at least -30 degrees.
- Change Your Filters: This is good time to take a look at the filters in your car. Replace your air filter is if it dirty and don’t forget you cabin air filter. If you had never changed the fuel filter in your car, depending on the age of the car, maybe ask your mechanic to replace it.
- Check all Lights on Your Car: Make sure your headlights, taillights and blinkers are working properly. If your headlight lenses are hazy, they are several products at any auto parts store to help clear them up.
- Don’t Leave Your Gas Tank Almost Empty: During the cold weather, water condensation can appear in the gas tank and possibly enter your fuel lines and freeze there, stopping the fuel to the engine. Try not to let fuel drop below ¼ of the tank to avoid condensation.
- Don’t Leave Your Car Unattended to Warm Up: During cold weather, many people will leave their car running unattended to warm up first and this situation makes it easy for car thieves. It only takes few seconds, and your car is gone. Perhaps consider installing a remote starter in your car if not already equipped. Make sure it has safety features to prevent someone from driving away unless the key is present.
It’s always a good practice to include some items in your car in case you are stuck in snow. Always bring warm blankets, gloves and a hat and an ice scraper for your windshield. Keep some water and snacks or extra medicine in case emergency services can’t come soon.
Perhaps consider investing in winter tires for your car during the cold months. You would see a major improvement in you car handling in snow.
Verify your tires pressure, since cold weather can reduce your air pressure. Check you auto manual for correct pressure for your specific vehicle.