Get Your Car Ready for Winter Driving
September 25, 2015 / Sara Davis / Stay Safe Behind the Wheel
As the seasons change and temperatures and leaves fall, there are many things you might be preparing yourself for. These items may include insulating your windows, making sure your vents are clean or starting to pull out all your winter clothes, when you just got used to your bathing suit. And while winter is still a few months away, it is smarter to do this prep work during the fall, so you can be ready for when you really need it.
One item that you might not consider is your vehicle. Like anything, cars need maintenance in the winter, even if you are driving yours less frequently. They behave differently in the cold and many people don't make the appropriate modifications to care for their cars during these colder months.
"Cold weather can cause your battery to operate at about 30 percent less capacity."
Instead of waiting until winter, or until something goes wrong with your car, get started with your preparations now. The changing temperatures can affect your ride, so make sure you show it the attention it deserves.
Tips For Helping Your Car Through A Temperature Drop
While these aren't the complete solutions, they should get you by and keep your car in good working order.
- Clean Your Battery: The battery is the lifeblood of your car, but the cold weather causes it to operate at about 30 percent less capacity, according to Bankrate. Depending on how long you have had your battery, you might have some corrosion built up, which can also limit your battery's ability to perform efficiently. Remove any corrosion before the cold weather sets in, and if your battery is more than five years old, it might be worth looking into a new one. You don't want your battery freezing up on you when you need it most.
- Make Sure Everything Works: As you would in your home, test the heater in your car to make sure it is working properly. Keeping your car warm in the winter is not only for your comfort, but for the vehicle's performance and health as well. Additionally, carcare.org recommended making sure your anti-freeze is properly filled and your defrosters work as well. Windshield wipers are also going to be key during the winter months. If your wipers have some wear and tear, get them replaced before the cold rains and the snow start falling. One other important item to consider is headlights. You will use them much more frequently in the fall and then during the winter, so make sure your bulbs are all working properly.
- Check Your Tires: You are probably aware that there are tires designed specifically for winter, which can handle cold temperatures and snow better than standard tires. Depending on where you live, or how extreme your winters can be, it might be worth looking into winter tires. According to Ram Products, winter tires are great for snowy terrain, but they can also be impractical if you live in a warmer area where you might only require their use for a week or two. Speak with a professional in your area and find out if these tires are worth your time and investment. If they are, then you are better off playing it safe and having them on your car. However, even if you don't put on winter tires, make sure and keep an eye on your pressure, as the cold weather will largely impact this.
When winter settles in, there will be other things to consider, such as removing salt from your car to prevent it from eating the metal, but these tips are ones you can take care of now. Don't wait until the cold has arrived, get ahead of the game by making sure your car is prepared in all the ways it can be. Naturally, winter brings challenges one can't prepare for, but when it comes to making sure your automobile is ready, there is no excuse not to have your car ready, especially when it is this early in the fall.
Find out what you need to update, set a budget and prepare your car for the cold months.