How To Prepare Your Car For The Winter
Winter is a time for getting together and spending time with the ones you love, which commonly includes lots of miles spent in the car, so it’s only fitting you should prepare your car for the extra outings or the potential lack of use while youre out enjoying the holidays. With your schedule starting to fill up from festivities, it may seem daunting to have to cut out a large portion of your schedule to make sure your car is in tip-top shape for the chilly weather, Wrench can make sure you dont have to miss out on the celebrations this season is full of, with our convenient mobile technicians.
Steps To Take To Prepare
The majority of the work involved in preparing your vehicle for the winter is arranging for your car to be tuned up, regular car maintenance is already important to keep on a consistent schedule, and when temperatures reach extreme lows during the winter, it becomes even more so essential to keeping those you love safe while traveling this holiday season.
Having good visibility during a winter storm is essential to safe driving. Therefore one of the first things you should check on when tuning up your car is the wiper fluid reservoir, making sure it’s full throughout the winter months ensures your windshield stays clear.
Here are some other things you should keep in mind when getting ready for the winter:
When All Else Fails
Easy Ways To Winterize Your Vehicle
Getting your vehicle winter-ready is easier than you might think. Here are seven handy tips you can use to get your car ready for the winter ahead.
- Change your wiper blades at least once per year. The right wiper blades can do wonders for visibility and help protect your windshield from damage.
- Invest in snow tires if you havent already. If you have snow tires, ensure you check your tread to see if they’re still in proper condition to perform.
- Check your tire pressure. Keep them properly inflated for winter.
- Check your antifreeze levels. Having the right amount of antifreeze will help prevent your engine from freezing in frigid temperatures.
- Keep washer fluid full so youre not caught without it. Be sure to choose a low temperature windshield washer fluid for your vehicle.
- Take the time to make sure maintenance of your vehicle is up to date. This includes things like testing your car battery. No one wants to be stuck in the cold with a car suffering a malfunctioning battery.
- Dig out the winter tools keep a set of gloves, a snow brush and an ice scraper in your car.
When you have your car prepared for winter conditions, you can have the confidence both you and your vehicle will be ready for the ice and cold coming your way.
Another great way to feel protected when driving this winter? Having car insurance that meets your needs.
Ways To Prepare Your Car For Winter Driving
It may not have felt like it lately, but its inevitablewinter is coming. Yes, even here in Georgia! Are you ready for it?
If you havent prepared your car for winter driving yet, its time. Learn how to winterize your car with these tips from U Wrench It, and visit us online or in person to find the best affordable auto parts in Atlanta.
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Batteries Must Work Harder
Winter weather will often reveal a weak or failing battery. Your batterys cranking capability is naturally reduced by the cold weather. Take the time to inspect your battery, cables, fluid and terminals to ensure your car will start properly. Check the connections at the battery terminals if you suspect a bad battery, hop down to your local auto parts store to have it tested.
Your local auto parts store can also help you determine the ideal cold cranking amps for your car and the climate in which you live. This is a measure of the batterys ability to crank the engine when it hasnt been running recently, and more CCAs are needed to start an engine in cold temperatures.
Inspect the manufacture date as well. If its several years old, you might want to plan on getting a new battery at the first sign of any trouble. In addition, when you go to buy a battery, make sure that the manufacture date isnt more than six months old.
Check Your Lights See And Be Seen
Did you know winter is hard on your cars bulbs? Its all about the condensation that naturally occurs with all that freezing and thawing happening all winter long. Most manufacturers have switched to LEDs now, which are mostly immune to this issue.
But if your car doesnt have LEDs then make sure all your lights are working properly so that you can see and be seen in the coming cold and dark nights.
If your plastic headlight protectors are worn by road rash, invest in a headlight restoration kit. Its a cost-effective DIY way to get them back to their original crystal-clear state, making it an easy win when you winterize your car.
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Dig Out The Winter Tools
Keep a set of gloves, a snow brush and an ice scraper in your car at all times. Try to find a brush with soft bristles to prevent any damage to the paint or glass on your car. Its also good to have a set of jumper cables in your trunk just in case you or a fellow motorist needs a boost on a frigid day.
Keep Washer Fluid Full
Replace your windshield wiper fluid often. A single snowstorm can exhaust a large amount of this fluid, so refill the washer reservoir frequently with windshield wiper fluid formulated for winter conditions. If youâre unsure if your washer fluid is the right formula for low temperatures, add a bottle of washer fluid antifreeze to the reservoir. Youâll find it at most auto parts stores.
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Become Familiar With Your Car
If you recently purchased a new vehicle or have never driven your car in snowy conditions, its a good idea to become acquainted with it while the weathers still good. If your vehicle has a traditional four-wheel-drive system, check your vehicles user manual to see how it works. Some vehicles are equipped with differential lockers that can provide even more traction in tricky situations. These tend to require a little more effort to engage than a four-wheel-drive system and can only be engaged in certain conditions.
While all-wheel-drive systems work automatically, its still a good idea to check the user manual for available drive modes that can improve traction in wintery conditions. Its also a good idea to learn where the traction control button is in case you need to turn it off.
How To Get Your Car Out Of A Snow Bank
Use these tips to help get out of a snowy situation, or help others that are stuck!
Check to see if your exhaust pipe is clogged. This should always be one of the first items on your checklist with getting your car out of snow. If your cars exhaust pipe, usually located in the external rear of the car, is clogged, carbon monoxide may seep into the cars interior and cause carbon monoxide poisoning– a potentially deadly incident. If it is clogged or blocked, scoop out snow and clear the area of the tailpipe.
Dig, dig, dig. If you have a snow shovel in your winter car emergency kit, kick up your heels and start digging! Dig out as much as you can around your vehicle: near the tires, underneath the car, in the front, in the back, etc. The more you preliminarily dig out snow, the less youll have to deal with slipping on when you try to move your car.Tip: pay attention to what your body is telling you, and avoid overexertion. If youre feeling too cold or fatigued, take a break and sit in your warm car or a warm shelter.
Avoid revving. It may seem logical to press on the gas hard to get out of a situation where your car is stuck, but in cases of snow, its about the worst thing you can do. When your wheels spin fast without getting you anywhere they create friction and heat. That heat melts the snow underneath your tire, and turns it to ice almost immediately, which makes driving out of the snow much harder.
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Switch To Winter Wiper Blades
Ordinary wiper blades get packed with snow, causing the blade to streak or miss large swaths of your windshield. Winter wiper blades eliminate that problem. The entire blade is wrapped in a rubber boot that prevents ice and snow from sticking or packing. They make for much better visibility and safer winter driving. Find winter wiper blades at any auto parts store for around $12-ea. Remove your old wiper blades and store for use again next spring. Then snap on the winter wiper blades and see clearly all winter.
Cold Weather & Battery Capacity
It isn’t only your engine that doesn’t like to start in the winter. Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather, too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter.
Check over the battery cables for cracks and breaks. The terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. You can check your battery fluid by uncovering the refill hole . If the level is below the bottom of the cap, refill with distilled water.
To read the level of charge in your battery, you will need to turn the engine off. Some batteries have a built-in hydrometer eye that tells you the amount of voltage remaining in the battery. If you prefer, a handheld hydrometer can be used to collect the same information.
While you’re inspecting your battery, look around for the manufacture date. Knowing how old your battery is can clue you in to when it will begin to lose charge. Shopping for a new battery? Never buy one with a six-month-old manufacture date.
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Wash Your Cars Exterior
Its imperative that your vehicle is thoroughly washed before storing it for the winter. Dont use a drive-through car wash be sure to hand wash it. Give the cars underside a good spray wash as well.
Once the car has air-dried, give it a good waxing to protect the vehicles finish. It doesnt hurt to give the cars chrome a polish, either. Once this step and some of the other winter car storage recommendations below are done, youll be covering the car with a cover or tarp.
When the time for winter car storage ends in the spring, your cherished vehicles exterior will be fresh and well-preserved during its resting period.
Take Steps To Prevent Pests
Air intake boxes, exhaust pipes, and other openings around your vehicle can invite rodents and insects. Block off these openings while storing your car to keep pests out. Fabric sheets inside your car and moth balls on the outside are great ways to deter pests from making a home in your vehicle. Just make sure to remove any covers before you start your car!
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Get The Right Car With Carfax
If youve recently moved from a warm climate to a cold one, you may simply lack the right vehicle for snowy weather. The rear-wheel-drive sports car you had in California may not work so well in Minnesota.
And every vehicle in our used car listings comes with a free Carfax Vehicle History Report.
Carfax Used Car Listings / Credit: Carfax
Is Your Battery Oil And Coolant Ready For The Cold Temperatures
Just because you dont expect to start your car in sub-zero temperatures does not mean that your battery will last forever. When it is time to take your car in for its next oil change, have the battery tested. If it is more than four years old, you might want to change the battery out, so you arent stranded when it fails to start the car. Also, have the coolant in the radiator tested and flushed if needed. This activity ensures protecting your engine from freezing when you take a ski trip, but it also prevents damage from the searing heat in the desert.
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How Much Does It Cost To Winterize Your Car
Now that you know how to winterize a car, let’s talk cost. You can expect the total cost to winterize your car to depend on its year, make, model, and condition. For starters, you can typically get your car’s battery tested for free at an auto parts or repair shop, although replacing the battery may cost anywhere from $50 $200 depending on the type of battery you need.
The price of good snow tires and their installation typically costs around $120 $190 per tire. Tire chains can cost anywhere from $40-$200, depending on the type of chain you need.
Fortunately, things like refilling your tires with air, washing or waxing your vehicle, and replacing windshield wipers and fluid are relatively inexpensive. Putting together an emergency kit is also relatively inexpensive, as you only need to purchase these items once, restocking only as necessary, and inexpensive options are readily available. Although these minor adjustments are relatively cheap, they can go a long way for taking care of a car in cold weather.
Kick Off Winter With Car Service In Madison Wi
Its a good idea to bring your car in for a tuneup at the start of winter to make sure its adequately prepared to take on the cold. Schedule your service appointment with Zimbrick Automotive today, or check out our selection of new cars for sale or pre-owned cars for sale if its time for a different set of wheels altogether.
Take the appropriate steps to winterize your car, and stay safe on the road this season.
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Check Your Car’s Lights
With less daylight in winter, is it important to see and be seen on the road. Start with a look at your vehicles lighting check all the lights for proper operation.
Headlights dim with age. If the headlights just dont seem to be doing their job anymore, it could be time for a new set of headlamp bulbs.
Master Guide To Winterizing Classic Cars
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Clean Your Cars Interior
If youre going to the trouble of following the proper procedures for winter car storage, its clear you love your classic car or sports car. Therefore, its unlikely youve left your beloved cars interior filled with garbage.
Even still, it bears mentioning that you should ensure your cars interior is clean before storing it. Anything food-related definitely needs to be removed. This lowers the chance of any pests trying to get inside your car and you also wont have any unpleasant odors to face after months of winter car storage.
Seat covers are a smart idea for providing extra protection for your upholstery. And its also a good idea to add some packs of desiccant inside the vehicle. They can be bought at your local dollar store and will absorb extra cabin moisture.
Why Winterize Your Car
Whether you live in Indianapolis or a smaller city like Rushville, IN, it’s important that you winterize your car. Winterizing ensures that your car can handle all the hazards you encounter on the road, and that you won’t find yourself stuck in a snowdrift or sliding into another car. Winterizing your car also reduces the rust that forms underneath the vehicle due to the salt road crews use when snow or ice is present. We recommend that you bring your car, truck or SUV in to one of our Indy service departments near you before winter storms hit.
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Swap Out Fluids And Filters
Your engine should also be inspected, with special attention paid to hoses, belts, exposed wires, and spark plugs so they don’t have a chance of unexpectedly failing. Top up important fluids like windshield washer fluid and engine lubricants like transmission fluid. A lower viscosity of oil is preferred so its response isn’t sluggish as temperatures drop in Downers Grove. To ensure your car’s cabin warms up quickly, inspect the thermostat and cabin air filter so engine heat can flow efficiently and warm you quickly. Your brakes generate quite a bit of heat from friction, so the colder temperatures won’t have much of an effect on their performance, but you can still have them inspected to ensure they’re working properly.
Antifreeze And Aluminum Engine Components
It is rather obvious to all gearheads to make sure your antifreeze mixture is ready for low temperatures. Like your engine oil though, consider if it is time to change your antifreeze before storage, just for these couple of reasons.
With the popularity of aluminum heads, water pumps, and lightweight radiators, antifreeze is another liquid that needs continued attention. Even though your antifreeze may be ready for cold temperatures, coolant can become acidic over time. This can promote electrolysis that can easily damage aluminum, as demonstrated by this intake manifold surface.
Continued use or storing of degenerated coolant can allow the lack of corrosion inhibitors, lubricants, and other additives to keep the water/alcohol blend from damaging engine parts from the inside out. Also, acidic coolant becomes an electrolyte. When electrolysis occurs between aluminum and iron engine components, this can eat away your coolant passages.
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