The temperatures are dipping, which means it’s time to winterize your car.
Winter is hard on vehicles. Summertime may seem worse than winter, but the truth is colder temperatures can do a lot more damage to your vehicle. Just ask anyone that lives in places like Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston, or other cold cities.
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Freezing temperatures can wreak absolute havoc on your engine. But, it isn’t just the effect winter elements have on your itself, it’s the driving conditions that can turn from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Oftentimes, it’s the people you have to worry about that are around you. The good news is you can plan ahead for winter’s brutal cold hits. Because when it hits, it’s going to hit. I’m looking at you, Northerners.
How to winterize a car, that is the question.
It’s recommended that you service your car for seasonal changes at least twice a year. Winter’s harsh conditions can be the absolute pits whether you’re stuck in traffic during your morning commute or just going for a weekend joyride. You need to keep your car, truck, or SUV happy. A happy vehicle is a good vehicle.
So, how do you winterize a vehicle? Simple:
- Replace the battery. I get it, batteries are expensive. But, the power needed to keep you and your loved ones warm throughout these next few months while driving is going to demand a lot of work from your battery. Err on the side of safety and comfort.
- Top-off the cooling system. It’s best to maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. It’s becoming commonplace for antifreeze to come pre-diluted so you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself. Refer to your owner’s manual for more details.
- Keep a close eye on your brakes. The cold weather doesn’t necessarily affect your brakes, but it’s always a good idea to inspect them regardless. I’ve seen what faulty brakes can lead to, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Replace belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, these can go bad at any time. If you haven’t replaced yours in a while, you can bet your bottom dollar they need to be replaced.
- Switch to winter tires. Snow and other wintry mixes can make for dangerous driving conditions. Just as you wouldn’t wear smooth-soled shoes on a slippery surface, the same logic should be applied to your tires. Shop winter tires so you can keep your rubber safely on the road.
- Keep those tires inflated. Cold weather loves playing games with your tires and will keep them in a constant stage of flattery, just not the good kind. Keep a close eye on your tire pressure.
- Ensure washer fluid stays full. Snowstorms can exhaust your fluid, so it’s imperative to refill the washer reservoir frequently.
I know what some of you are thinking,“You’re silly, Wes. I live in L.A. and never have to worry about cold weather.”While that may be true, that doesn’t mean you can’t perform the usual maintenance for a just-in-case scenario. Obviously, there’s no need to buy winter tires but replacing your belts, hoses, and spark plugs isn’t a bad idea.
Keep yourself and your car running in perfect condition this winter. Doing all of the above keeps you ahead of the winter storms and in a safe space.
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