Getting your car ready for winter is vital as the winter temperatures begin to roll around and you start to unpack sweaters and jackets out of the boxes in preparation. With the winter come slippery streets, salty roads and nose-freezing temperatures placing a heavy toll on your car’s body, engine and your personal safety. Here you can follow a few easy steps to make sure your car is ready for the winter and you are safe on the road.
Make sure the antifreeze and water mixture in the radiator is free of contaminants. Inspect the coolant level and check the strength of the solution with a coolant tester. Freezing temperatures will ice the water in a weak coolant mixture and literally crack your engine block open. Replace the coolant if it is two years old.
Check the level of the windshield washer solution and add deicer to clear ice and frost easily. Snowfall may hinder your visibility and clog the wipers through the night. Also, install new wiper blades if they are one year old.
Make sure you have enough tire tread. One of the most important functions of the tires in your vehicle is to provide proper traction on the road to move the car forward, help steer easily around the corner and hold onto the road as you step on the breaks. Icy roads will play dangerous tricks on any vehicle riding on tires with less than 4/16-inch of tread. Monitor your tire tread with a tread depth indicator and make sure your tires are properly balanced.45
Inspect the starting system on your vehicle. A battery in good condition will provide the necessary current for your engine even at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the drive belts, alternator, starter motor, connecting wires and cables.
Make sure the oil in your engine is the appropriate for your engine mileage and winter temperatures in your area. A viscosity grade of SAE 15w-40 may be safe for a temperature range of 10 to 100 degrees F, but an SAE 5w-30 oil grade will protect your engine in -20 to +60 degrees F temperatures.
Take your car to an auto shop for a tune-up. Ask your mechanic to replace the air and fuel filters if necessary. Adjust the timing, change the spark plugs and spark plug wires. A weak spark in the ignition system in freezing temperatures can leave you stranded faraway from home.
Wash the car’s body once a week and steam clean the engine and underside of the car twice during the winter to keep salt, grit and other corrosive elements off your car. This will not only take care of your car’s resale value. Salt and metal particles in mud on the road during the winter eat up a car’s body fast and make repairs difficult.