Simple Winter Vehicle Maintenance Tips
When it comes to winter, and the subsequent freezing temperatures, many individuals tend to neglect the thought of preparing their car. However, cold weather can certainly take a toll on your vehicle, prompting several negative effects that can dramatically decrease its lifespan. So, with the recent drop in temperatures in both North Carolina, and across the country in general, our Raleigh certified technicians thought it would be especially helpful to provide these 8 simple tips on protecting your vehicle from harsh temperatures.
1. Switch to Synthetic Oil
Switching from conventional to synthetic oil (if it is appropriate for your car) is a helpful step to take in protecting your car from the freezing winter temperatures. This is because starting your car up in the cold weather is much easier on your engine when it is using synthetic oil. Synthetic oil flows more freely than conventional oil, meaning it does not need time to warm up and will immediately lubricate and protect your engine’s parts. Even if full synthetic oil is not recommended for your car, try using a synthetic blend, which is synthetic oil mixed with conventional oil.
2. Check Your Battery
The cold weather is more demanding on your battery than warmer temperatures. This is because a cold engine with sluggish oil requires your battery to work harder than usual to start up and maneuver your vehicle. Once you add in the heating and defrost features, which already require a substantial amount of power by themselves, to this equation as well, this can take a significant toll on your battery. So, be sure to check your battery and replace it, if necessary, to avoid a dead battery.
If you use your car infrequently, or live in climates with sub-zero, harsh temperatures, it might be a wise idea to connect your battery to a trickle charger or a maintainer. This will prevent the loss of battery power from lack of use or simply freezing cold temperatures.
3. Check Your Antifreeze
Antifreeze is one of your best defenses against the harsh elements of winter. It essentially prevents the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing, expanding, and damaging your engine. That is why it’s crucial to ensure that your engine’s antifreeze is in good shape. Either use an antifreeze tester or visit your local certified technician to make sure that there is an adequate amount of antifreeze present in your engine. If needed, top off your antifreeze or completely flush your radiator to replace it. While you’re at it, also ensure that your coolant reservoir level is filled to the proper level.
4. Check Your Radiator Cap and Thermostat
Speaking of antifreeze, be sure to check your radiator cap every once in a while. Inspect it closely for any signs of leaking fluid. Although it may seem like a simple part, it is a crucial component of your heating and cooling system. The radiator cap basically keeps the antifreeze from spilling outside of your vehicle. So, a faulty radiator cap can create issues with your engine’s cooling system as the antifreeze leaks out, as well as cause the engine to overheat.
In addition to your radiator cap, if you like the heating system within your car, occasionally check your thermostat to ensure it is properly functioning. While it is another simple and inexpensive part, if this component is broken, then so is your heating.
5. Check Your Tires
With the colder temperatures sometimes comes icy, dangerous conditions, which is why it is important to ensure that your tires have proper traction. Be sure to inspect your tires (https://www.reliableimportservice.com/blog/how-to-extend-the-life-of-your-tires) to see if the treads have a proper depth. If they do not, immediately replace your tires. If you live in an area where it snows constantly, it might be wise to invest in some snow tires.
It is also important to check your air pressure, since it is estimated that for every 10-degree drop in air pressure, you tire pressure also decreases by a pound. Tires that are under inflated not only wear faster, but also hurt your fuel economy and negatively affect your handling and traction. So, be sure to regularly check and inflate your tires.
6. Maintain Your Visibility
In winter especially, during cloudy or snowy days, it is crucial for you to be able to clearly see your surroundings and for other cars to clearly see you. So, regularly ensure that your lights are all working, and replace any headlight or tail light bulbs, if necessary. The same goes for your windshield wipers; occasionally check to ensure they are functioning properly. For those who live in areas where it snows frequently, consider purchasing winter blades to help combat the snowy and icy conditions, and fill your windshield washer tank with deicing fluid. Or, if you are uncomfortable doing so yourself, visit your local certified technician for them to thoroughly winterize your car for you.
7. Keep Your Car Looking Nice!
With every threat of snow or ice inevitably comes road salt. And, while it is certainly a helpful tool in keeping our roads safe, it isn’t so kind to your car’s exterior. So, be sure to thoroughly clean and scrub your car’s exterior with quality car-wash soap and a lint-free towel, especially after driving through road salt. Or, if the elements are just too cold, go through a touch-free car wash. If you haven’t done so already, also go ahead and wax your car, too. Wax is a great thing to have, as it serves as a barrier against all the salty, grimy road conditions and protects your car’s exterior.
8. Never Let Your Gas Tank Drop Below Half Way Full
Get in a routine of filling up your gas tank every couple of days. Not only does this help your gas mileage, but it also decreases the chance of moisture developing in your gas lines. If moisture forms in your gas lines, it can possibly freeze during colder temperatures, which creates several unwanted, costly problems.
Let Our Raleigh Certified Auto Technicians Prepare Your Car for Winter for You!
Sometimes, executing all of the necessary maintenance requirements to properly care for your car during winter can be time consuming or difficult. That’s why our Raleigh certified auto technicians are here to do so for you, so that you don’t have to worry about winterizing your car yourself. Whether you need an oil change, tire repair, or heating maintenance, we can provide exceptional services that ensure your car is thoroughly taken care of and prepped for the cold temperatures. For assistance with winterizing your car, contact our Raleigh import auto repair shop today at (919) 324-3019 or complete our online contact form.