During the winter months, you should take steps to make sure that you remain healthy and safe. For instance, you must dress in layers, make sure to wash your hands, and refrain from going outside if the temperature drops too low. Not only must you take steps to protect yourself during winter, you must take steps to protect your car. Here are some tips to help you winterize your vehicle.
Performing Tune-Ups and Maintenance
Have your mechanic check your battery, hoses, belts, and anti-freeze, recommends Geico Insurance Company. Additionally, if you are at all concerned about your brakes, get them inspected immediately. Turn your front and rear defrosters on and off to make sure that they are working properly, recommends Geico. If your car’s windshield wipers are worn or more than a year old, 21st Century Insurance Company suggests that you should replace them.
Additionally, you should use cold weather windshield wiper fluid because it will not freeze during frigid winter temperatures. During cold weather, engine oil thickens, making it harder for the engine to turn over. Even though modern cars use multi-weight oil that is suitable for a wide range of temperatures, some manufacturers recommend specific grades of oil for specific temperature ranges., suggests Consumer Reports. Therefore, you should check your owner’s manual to see if your car has the right grade of oil for winter temperatures. Yahoo News recommends washing your car once a month during the winter, including the car’s undercarriage, because cars are subjected to salt, tree sap, road slush, and mud which eats away at a car’s metal, chrome, and paint.
Checking Your Tires
If you drive frequently during the winter months, you should consider replacing your summer or all-season tires with a set of winter tires, which have tread patterns and rubber compounds specially designed for optimum traction on slick roads, advises Consumer Reports. Usually, winter tires have a shorter tread life, but the increased traction might be worth the extra cost. Even if you are confident with your current tires, you should check the tread depth, recommends USA Today. One way to check the tread depth is to stick a penny in the tread. If Lincoln’s head is completely visible, it is time to change your tires, according to USA Today. However, many modern tires have a tread wear indicator, so you can search your tire type online in order to understand how to read the tread wear indicator, advises USA Today.
Warming Up Your Car
Though modern cars can be put in gear and driven as soon as they are started, you should still let the car idle a little bit before you start driving. You want to allow some time for the oil to heat up, thin out, and flow smoothly before the engine does any serious work, advises Consumer Reports. Letting your car idle while you brush the snow off of it should be a sufficient amount of time. If your car idles higher than normal when first started, you can save wear and tear on your automatic transmission by waiting until the idle speed drops before putting the car in gear, recommends Consumer Reports. Furthermore, you should drive gently until the temperature gauge starts to move off of the bottom peg or until the cold engine light (it’s usually blue) goes out, suggests Consumer Reports.
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