By Mike Dyer, Staff Writer
With winter fast approaching, the temperatures are starting to drop. While we have to adjust to it, it is also a good idea to keep in mind that winter is probably the hardest time of year on our vehicles. To help ensure that your car is ready for that holiday road trip, keeping these simple tips in mind will help your car combat the cold. They might even save you a few bucks in the long run.
Let your car warm up
Allowing your car a couple of minutes to warm up before you drive off is beneficial, especially if your car stays outside. While the oil in your engine is designed to perform in various temperature conditions, it needs a couple of minutes to build up to its proper operating temperatures. Doing this ensures that oil is circulating inside the engine in all the ways it is designed to do.
Check your tire pressure
Just as we learned in high school science class, warm air expands and cold air contracts. Making sure that your tires are at their proper pressure ensures that you have the right amount of grip on the road and that you are getting
the best miles per gallon.
Check the battery
Your car’s battery works on a chemical reaction. When you buy a new battery it is designed to work in cold temperatures, but with age and decreasing temperatures this reaction is slowed and eventually culminates in your car not turning over. If your car battery is over two years old, getting it tested wouldn’t be a bad idea. This usually can be done for free at your local auto parts store. If your battery is new and it still leaves you stranded, make sure that you have your car’s charging system checked out along with that new battery.
Check the wiper blades
As snow and sleet loom on the horizon, make sure you have a good set of wiper blades on your car. Inspecting them is as easy as looking for cracks in the rubber, but they can also be tested by trying your windshield washer. If they are leaving streaks with just water, your blades won’t be very helpful in snow or sleet. If you do need to purchase a new set, make sure that they are rated to perform in sleet and snow as they have different ratings for different seasons.
Check the anti-freeze
In the cold of winter, anti-freeze is designed to do exactly what it says; not freeze. If the coolant (anti-freeze) did freeze then the expanding frozen anti-freeze could ruin your vehicles engine. Anti-freeze is designed to not freeze in temperatures far below zero degrees Fahrenheit. As it ages, its ability to stay in a liquid state diminishes slowly. You can test it various ways, but the easiest is by purchasing an anti-freeze tester for about $15 at your local auto parts store. You will be able to diagnose as to whether or not you should spring for a coolant flush at the shop.
Wash your car, frequently
Probably one of the things you might never think of when it comes to winter car care is washing your car. This really comes into play when the roads are full of slushy and salty snow. While effective on the snow, road salt does not benefit your car. Salt promotes corrosion, and if your car is covered in that salty, slushy road grime it is slowly eating away at your paint finish and the metal that makes up your car. By running your car through the car wash, you are removing the salt and preserving your car’s finish, metal body and the various expensive metal and rubber components that make up your car’s chassis.