Used Car Maintenance 101: Winter Car Care

Used Car Maintenance 101: Winter Car Care

Part of our ongoing Used Car Maintenance 101 series. Other installments include Tire Rotation & Alignment, Oil Changes & Filters, and Essential Fluids.

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.

Car Battery

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.

Engine Oil

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

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.

Tires

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!

5 Replies to “Used Car Maintenance 101: Winter Car Care”

  1. Jerold maxwell

    I appreciate the winter maintenance of the used vehicle. Used vehicles are problematic and needs proper maintenance to deal with the extreme colder temperature of the winter. Extreme colder temperature has negative impacts on the different components of the vehicle including tire. So, the condition of different components of the vehicle needs to be evaluated before the arrival of the winter and replacement of damaged components is advisable to deal with such adverse situations.

  2. Jim Holland

    Extreme temperature has a disastrous impact on the vehicle. Used vehicles couldn’t stand against the catastrophic effects of the extremely cold temperature which is unknown to newbies. Information given in this article helps a lot to understand the factors which should be taken into consideration during the winter season to protect the vehicle from the cold temperature. Lack of knowledge and ignorance could cost a lot. So, everyone should know some of basic winter car maintenance tricks to keep the vehicle in working order during the winter months.

  3. Nora Adams

    The battery is one of the most important component of the vehicle which is significantly influenced by the extreme cold temperature of the winter. So, such important components should be properly insulated to stand against the cold temperature of the winter. Apart from this, weaker components which couldn’t stand against the cold temperature of the winter should be replaced with suitable substitutes to keep the vehicle in working order. Some people often ignores the importance of regular maintenance of the vehicle which could jeopardize the performance of the vehicle.

  4. Jim Edison

    Sub-zero temperature of the winter have negative influence on the performance of the vehicle. Weaker or older components of the vehicle couldn’t withstand such environmental condition. So, such parts needs to be replaced prior to the arrival of winter to keep the vehicle in working order. In my point of view, one shouldn’t leave home during such environmental condition. Besides, precautions should be taken to deal with emergency situations.

  5. Peggy Scott

    Used vehicles need special attention from its owner to run smoothly. Buyers need to be very cautious while buying a used vehicle, as such vehicles could have a lot of mechanical issues. So, one should properly inspect the used vehicle prior to buy it and the inspection should be conducted by a certified professional. Lack of maintenance could have a significant impact on the performance of the vehicle. So, the vehicle needs special attention during the winter months. The antifreeze used in the vehicle protects the engine from the extremely cold temperature of the winter. So, the quality and quantity of the coolant used in the vehicle should be inspected regularly and if necessary should be replaced after a certain time interval.

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