If you live in a climate that boasts cold winters, as most of us do, you are probably aware that you need to prepare your car for what’s to come. Most tasks are related to prevention and they are extremely important if you want to be as safe as possible while driving. After all, you don’t want to endanger your life or lives of other people because you were too lazy to make sure your car is ready for cold, snowy and icy conditions on the roads. So, here are some of the most useful tips that should keep your car in the best possible condition during the winter season.
It’s very important to change the oil in your car regularly, especially during the winter. Make sure you consult the owner’s manual and see what type of oil is recommended by the manufacturer and stick to the instructions to the letter. Basically, you’ll need a thinner oil in the winter, which means you might need to use a different type altogether.
Another thing you have to inspect is the quantity and quality of coolant (antifreeze) in your car. While many drivers opt for a 50/50 ratio of coolant to water in normal weather, they tend to go for 60/40 in the winter. Also, make sure you have enough coolant in the system if you want to avoid damaging your engine, which might cost you a fortune.
Check the battery
You are certainly familiar with a sight of a driver trying to start their car on a cold winter morning, but without success. The reason is that your engine needs more current from the battery in low temperatures in order to start, which is why your battery has to be functioning perfectly. Turn on your headlights before you start the engine and then turn your engine. If the lights get brighter, your battery is probably dying. Even better, if you have a voltmeter, use it to measure the voltage. Alternatively, you can take your car to your mechanic, who can also inspect brakes, cables for cracks and the battery fluid.
Protect the bodywork
Just like you need to make sure the engine and other parts of your car are fully functional, you should do the same when it comes to the bodywork. One of the best investments is to have quality paint protection film installed, to protect not only the paint, but also the car from light scratches and contaminants, such as bug splatter and bird droppings. Such a film prevents your car from discolouring, which is a common problem with many brands, especially their older models.
Get your washer fluid and windshield wipers ready
You need to make sure you have a good washer fluid with an antifreeze solution in the winter, since regular fluids won’t do well in freezing temperatures. Generally, it’s a good idea to replace your windshield wipers at least once a year, but you may need to do it more frequently, depending on wear and tear. You don’t want to find yourself stuck with old wipers when the first big snow storm hits.
Check your tires
One of the more important things to check before the winter are the tires. Needless to say, they have to be in perfect condition to provide the best service. You should always make sure you have the right type of tires for each season. You might need to get tires with studs if you drive in perilous conditions. Also, the pressure in the tires should be checked regularly. Finally, exercise caution when pressing the gas pedal and don’t slam on your brakes.
Keep your gas tank filled
You know that you shouldn’t let your gas tank get completely empty ever, but this is even more important in the winter. The cold weather can cause condensation to form in an empty or nearly empty gas tank. That water then can drip down into the gas and sink to the bottom where it might get into your fuel line. You can only imagine the damage that can occur. So, make sure you have at least a quarter of the tank full at all times.
Maintaining your car is extremely important if you want it to serve you well and provide maximal safety. Winter conditions can be very dangerous and it takes a careful driver and a fully-functional car to deal with them. While your experience and skills might be limited, you mustn’t let your car be unprepared for such conditions!