“Winterizing” your car
Auto repair shops fill to the brim when cold weather hits. The reason for this, as most people who live in cold weather climates know, is because there are certain things that can help a car make it through the harshness of winter. Winterizing your car is a matter of common sense, economics, and safety. Cold weather is tough on cars, so the only way to protect them is by taking precautions before the damage is done.
Take your car in to get it winterized. Most auto repair shops automatically know what this means, but to avoid being scammed, you should have the following things done:
- Get your tires rotated and checked. You are going to be driving in hazardous conditions. Now is not the time to have thread-bare tires.
- Change the oil. This should always be done right before winter as a precaution
- Check wiper blades. This is a big safety issue. Don’t wait until ice is accumulating on the windshield to discover you need new wipers.
- Get the spark plugs checked. If possible, have a complete tune up before winter, but be sure to check the plugs.
- Get your battery tested. This one is pretty simple. No battery, no start. Winters present an extra 30% drain on batteries
You should also try to keep your gas tank at least ½ full during the winter months. You do not want to take the chance of the gasoline freezing, and besides, you will be idling the car a lot to warm up before you drive.
Pack your emergency car kit including an extra scraper, batteries and flashlights, lock anti-freeze, among other things
Prevent freezing doors: Lubricate the locks with a silicone spray or door lock lubricant.
Do NOT rev the engine to help it warm up faster. This could cause serious damage, and besides doing this does not help the car heat up faster.
Let your car warm up and drive slowly the first couple of miles. Everything in your car is going to move slower in cold weather. Even the oil thickens, and takes longer to move through the engine.
Especially in the winter, you should make sure that your car fluids are topped off. This includes antifreeze, oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid.
Getting stuck in winter weather with car problems is no joke. Most people who have lived in seasonal weather realize this, but even then some do not heed warnings. Check articles on what to pack for emergency situations. Being stranded in snow can be a short or long term event, depending on where you are when it happens, and what the conditions are. Winterizing does not guarantee that your car will make it through the winter without problems, but it sure goes a long way in preventing them. For your car, winterizing can mean the difference between just another winter with your car, and your car’s last winter. Be safe, be pro-active, and winterize your car.