Winter is here, and it’s important to make sure your car is ready for the cold weather. From checking tire pressure to topping up antifreeze, there are several steps you can take to winterize a car. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of our top tips for winterizing your car and keeping it running smoothly all season long.
1. Consider a Switch to Winter Tires
Winter is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to get your car winter-ready! One of the most important steps to take is considering a switch to winter tires. These tires are specifically designed to handle snowy and icy roads, providing much more traction than all-season tires.
They can help you accelerate, stop, and turn more safely in precarious wintry conditions. Make sure you check the tire pressure too, as having the correct pressure levels can help you better navigate slippery roads. Don’t forget to take snow chains with you, too – in extreme cases, you may need to put them on your tires, we will discuss that more in detail.
2. Protect the Paint
Taking care of your car’s paint is also essential for winterizing. Waxing your vehicle adds an extra layer of protection to your paint, further preserving it against harmful chemicals and the elements. Dry off your car well after washing to avoid any ice and snow stains. Available options to protect your vehicle’s paint include wax, paint sealant, and paint coating. The latter lasts longer, some up to two years.
3. Check Your Tire Pressure
Winterizing your car is key to having a safe and reliable ride. Checking your tire pressure is an important part of winterizing your vehicle. Having the correct inflation on your tires can help you gain better traction in the snow and also help improve your car’s gas mileage and tire wear.
A sticker on the inside of your car’s door jam will tell you exactly how inflated your tires should be when they’re cold. Rapidly dropping temperatures can deplete your tire pressure in record time, so be sure to check it regularly and top off your tires with air if needed. Many gas stations provide free air pumps to fill up.
4. Take Snow Chains With You and put them on Tires in Extreme Cases
When it comes to winter driving, it’s always a good idea to have snow chains or spiked tires on hand. In extreme cases, you’ll need to secure them to your tires. Most chains require you to lay them out, drive over them, and then secure them to your tires. Make sure you do this properly so that you don’t end up stranded in a snowdrift. You should also be aware of the local laws and regulations as some states require car owners to carry chains with them in certain areas during winter months.
5. Fill Your Antifreeze
To make sure your car stays running smoothly even in cold temperatures, it’s important to fill the antifreeze reservoir with enough antifreeze to protect the engine from freezing up. Generally, a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is recommended for temperatures below 0°C, but if you live in an area with colder winters, you may want to use a higher ratio of antifreeze to water.
Once this is done, be sure to check the levels regularly and top up as needed. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to purchase a winter concentrate rated at -20°F to prevent the fluid from freezing in the plastic tank.
6. Change Your Windshield Wiper Blades
Changing your windshield wiper blades is important during the cold months when rain, sleet and snow can wear out your regular blades quickly. The good news is that there are special winter wiper blades available that are designed to provide better performance in cold weather and prevent ice from collecting on the blades.
It’s also a good idea to keep an extra set of blades in the car or at home, so you’re prepared for any sudden changes in weather. If you notice that your wipers are leaving streaks of water on the windshield or if the rubber shows signs of cracking or stiffness, it’s time to replace them.
7. Clean Your Windshield
In addition to the steps mentioned above, it is also important to ensure that your vehicle’s windshield remains clean. Taking this winterizing step will ensure that you can see where you’re driving clearly. To do this, use a brush and a scraper to remove ice and snow from the windshield rather than your wipers.
A heavy load of snow (or ice sticking the blades together) could damage them. You should also rinse your car from top to bottom, wash it with gentle soap, focus on the wheel wells and undercarriage, and dry the locks and door frames.
To keep your windshield clear during winter months, fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water and spray it on all your car windows at night. In the morning, they’ll be clear of frost. Finally, make sure that your windshield washer fluid is full. Clearing off the slushy residue that collects on your car can require plenty of wiping.
8. Fill the Fuel Tank Before Parking
Filling the fuel tank before parking your car for the winter is also a good idea. This will help to keep moisture from entering the fuel system, which can cause corrosion and damage.
You should also be sure to change your oil and filter at least once a year, since the viscosity of motor oil can decrease in extremely cold temperatures. In addition, make sure to check your battery and its connections for signs of corrosion or wear and tear.
9. Keep an Emergency Kit Inside Your Car
Winter weather brings with it a unique set of dangers, and it’s important to be prepared for any situation. That’s why it’s essential to keep an emergency kit inside your car, containing items like flashlights, ice scrapers, blankets, and first aid kits.
This way, if you ever get stuck in the snow or experience another type of winter emergency, you’ll have the items you need to stay safe until help arrives.