Essential Car Maintenance Tips for Winter

Humble Eagle
Feb 24, 2020 12:26:00 PM

If you’re not living the Southern California dream, bumming it on the beaches of Hawaii, or enjoying the desert states, you’re most likely going to be driving in some pretty cold and snowy weather in the winter months. And while there are a lot of important tips for winter driving, there are also steps you should take to keep your car in good shape during the winter.

You’ll want to do some general car maintenance and follow these winter driving tips at the first sign of the season. 

Take Care of Your Tires 

Tire care is just as important as car care when driving in snow. The colder the weather gets the lower your tire pressure will become.

Driving on low tire pressure is dangerous, but even more so in the winter. Low tire pressure can make it harder to stop effectively when winter roads are covered with slippery snow or black ice.

So, when the winter months hit, keep an eye on your tires, especially early in the morning after outside temperatures have dipped at night. Make sure your tires stay filled to the recommended pressure for winter driving.

And if you’re in need of new tires, you may consider getting them before winter. Driving in the snow with brand new tires will reduce the likelihood of getting in a car accident. Regardless, it’s good practice to get your tires looked at, aligned, and filled with air before winter driving.

Ensure You Can See

Visibility is key when it comes to winter driving. Replacing your windshield wipers at the first sign of snow is a winter driving tip you don’t want to skip. When heavy rain or snow starts to fall, you’ll need strong, efficient wipers to keep your line of sight clear. 

It’s also a good idea to carry an ice scraper in your car because those windshield wipers won’t be able to do much if ice has frozen to the glass. To ensure the best car care, don’t use just any sharp object to scrape the ice. Make sure you buy a tool specifically for that purpose, so as to not scratch your windshield. 

Check These Three Things

Check your antifreeze. Antifreeze helps regulate your car’s temperature, which is why it’s definitely needed when driving in snow. At the first sign of winter, be sure to have your antifreeze checked and refilled or replaced as needed. When those outside temperatures drop, your antifreeze will keep your car running smoothly and lessen your chances of needing additional car maintenance in the winter. 

Check your oil. If you live where it’s relatively warm year-round, you don’t have to think about changing the type of oil you put in your car. But if you will be driving in cold weather, you’ll want to make sure you have the best oil in your car for winter driving.

This is why you’ll want to put a winter oil in your car once the temperature starts dropping. If you aren’t sure about the best type of oil for your car throughout the seasons, ask your auto technician at your next car maintenance appointment or reference your owner’s manual.

Check your battery. Getting stuck on the side of the road with a dead car battery is never fun, but it’s even worse in winter road conditions, where heavy snow and freezing temperatures abound. Your car battery life decreases more rapidly in cold weather.

So, when winter starts rolling around, make sure your battery is ready for the season — and it’s never a bad idea to carry jumper cables in your trunk just in case you go from driving in snow to sitting on the side of a snowy road with a dead car battery. 

Rally Against Rust

Many cities use salt to keep roads clear of ice and safer for winter driving, which helps lessen the chance of car accidents. And while we definitely wouldn’t want to be driving on icy roads that haven’t been treated, the road-salt used can cause rust or damage to the body of your car.

While you may think the only negative result of rust is your car not looking as nice, rust can actually damage the unprotected parts of the undercarriage of your vehicle as well.

There are multiple steps you can take to protect your car against rust. Some of the most effective are to have pre-winter and post-winter car maintenance done and wash your car soon after driving on a super salty road to get the particles off quickly. 

While the snow-capped trees are beautiful and snuggling up to a warm fire with hot cocoa is idealistic during the cold months, winter driving can be dangerous, especially if you don’t follow tips to ensure that your car is ready for the winter road conditions.

So at the first sign of winter, before you start driving in snow, be sure to do some winter car maintenance. This will help keep you and other drivers safe, reducing the chance of car accidents and protecting your car from winter damage.

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