Winter is coming, and your car needs more of that tender loving care from you through a series of practices designed to protect it from the biting cold. Although the effects of the freezing cold are totally the reverse of the horrors summertime heat brings, they’re certainly not the least harmful to your car. Therefore, once the temperature starts to drop come to the end of fall, you must proceed with the necessary steps to make your car winter-ready.
Take note that wintertime can cause automotive damage in a variety of ways, regardless if you’re pulling all the stops along the freeway just to get to your destination in time or waiting on any parking area with your car on standby. Regardless of the degree to which you use your car during winter, it’s important that you get to apply the following ways to keep it in top condition amid frigid temperatures.
1. Inspect your battery from time to time
Battery cells tend to perform lower under colder temperatures, as you may have noticed on all your battery-powered gadgets such as your mobile phone and laptop. Your car’s battery is not an exemption to that. In fact, several motorists have complained about breakdowns resulting from depleted car batteries, and many of them haven’t even bothered to consider to have them checked in time before the cold season hits.
For that, it’s best that you ask the help of your technician in checking whether your car’s battery is good enough to withstand wintertime drives. Whether a replacement is necessary is something your technician can best recommend, but in normal cases, jumper cables allow your car’s battery to have its much-needed boost. Also, make it a point to park your car in warm places to avoid battery depletion. Your garage or a closed parking space can serve as viable options. Some cars come installed with special insulation around the battery to protect it from the freezing cold, this is always something you can ask your technician about installing if your car does not have this feature.
2. Don’t forget about the tires
Frigid weather can decrease tire pressure, which is why it pays to check your tires more often during winter. Underinflated tires can decrease your car’s performance, which can be disadvantageous as you drive through layers of thick and slippery snow. Make sure your tires are inflated according to its recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) amount – at least a monthly check would do to prevent your tires from undermining your driving experience under cold temperatures.
Winter tires are also a good option for when you’re living in an area where the frosty weather is almost constant. Those kinds of tires allow you to drive through snowy surfaces with better handling and traction compared to using regular ones.
3. Wax your car in time for the cold
Having your car waxed properly prepares it well enough to withstand the harsh conditions winter can inflict on its exterior. Your car is more likely to sustain external damage during winter since roads are typically dirtier and filled with road salt. Whereas road salt is useful for melting ice on roads, it can corrode vehicle surfaces that aren’t protected with a wax coating. For that, make it a point to apply wax throughout your car’s exterior, particularly on the wheels and lower parts.
4. Allow your car to run before driving full speed
A common mistake that even veteran drivers can make in the winter is immediately driving their car on the highway after turning it on. You should give your engine time to warm up, as the oil needs to time to thin out, as it gets thicker in extreme cold. Not allowing your car the proper amount of time to “warm up” could be potentially fatal to your engine. Experts say that you only need to give it about 2 minutes if you are driving at neighborhood speeds to start off, but do not recommend going above 45 miles per hour in the first 10-15 minutes that your car has been on. Make sure to check your area for their idling limitations, as some cities only allow you to idle your car for so long because of the extra gas emissions.
5. See if all your windows and wipers are in great shape
Lastly, make it a point to check whether all your windows and wipers are in perfect shape to outlast low temperatures. Given that heavy fogging and snowfall are both signature characteristics of winter, setting out without a properly-working set of wipers in wintertime can increase your chances of figuring in accidents due to poor visibility. Moreover, you should check if your windows have sustained any form of damage. Window cracks are known to worsen the colder the weather gets because as your car heats up the glass expands, so it’s best to not leave things to chance.