The temperatures are dropping and winter is lurking just around the corner. If you want your car to stay in top shape through the cold months and still be there for you in the springtime, you should put a few simple maintenance tasks on your to-do list. Here are several winter car care tips that will keep your car running smoothly and more efficiently in the coming months.
Winter can be tough on your car’s battery since the cold can reduce your vehicle’s cranking power. If you have a conventional battery, check its fluid levels by removing the top plastic caps. If it needs more, just add distilled water. Maintenance-free batteries have an indicator level on the top. If batteries are older than five years and show any signs of weakness, it’s time to replace them.
Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid
Check the wear and tear on your car’s wiper blades before winter weather hits. As a general rule, these should be replaced about every six months. You can also purchase winter-specific wiper blades for most vehicles. Once you buy the blades, some stores will even perform the replacement for free. Also, check your washer fluid and top it off if it is getting low.
Colder weather tends to make engine oil thicker, so it’s essential that your vehicle not only has the right amount of oil but that it is also up to date on its recommended oil changes. When you schedule your next oil change, ask your mechanic to also check your vehicle’s radiator and heater hoses.
Antifreeze, also known as coolant, keeps your car’s engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before those temperatures drop, check the antifreeze level in your vehicle and make sure that you don’t have any leaks. If you need to add more or replace antifreeze, most mechanics recommend a 50/50 mix of water and coolant in the radiator, which will give the engine a lower freezing point than if you had just used coolant. You should also make sure that your antifreeze is clean and replace it every two years if necessary.
Having the right kind of tires on your car will help keep you safe when roads get icy or snow-covered. All-season tires are fine if they are paired with front-wheel drive and stability control systems. Otherwise, you may want to switch to winter tires for the season. Whichever tires you choose, make sure that their tread is sufficient to get you through ice and snow. It’s also a good idea to check your tire pressure weekly in cold weather.
Stock Your Car with a Winter Kit
Depending on how far your local temperatures drop or where your travels take you, it never hurts to be prepared. Get a basic winter kit for your car as well as a survival kit. For your winter kit, include an ice scraper and some de-icer spray. Your emergency kit should include jumper cables, a flashlight, blanket, cell phone charger, and a first aid kit.
After you find that ice scraper and set aside some sand for your driveway, make sure you cover these winter car care basics. Keeping up on your vehicle’s regular service is essential, but these extra steps in a cold weather climate count as well. Schedule your $14.95 oil change with included winter inspection today!