The winter time can be incredibly picturesque and beautiful. The snow is falling, and the world becomes blanketed in sparkly white radiance. It truly is a sight to behold, and a time to be experienced. However, while winter might look pretty and lift people’s spirits, it can also be quite a dangerous time for motorists.
It is important for anyone planning to be out on the road during the cold, icy months to exercise proper winter vehicle maintenance and prevention to avoid having a difficult time. Luckily, LoanMart is here to provide some handy tips for doing this.
Consider Getting New Tires
Having tires that are in good shape is incredibly important during the polar freezing time of the year. In fact, tires are one of the most important vehicle components. Without proper working tires, your car may spin out in the snow, or lose traction on a slippery spot at the most inopportune moment. Depending on what kind of snowfall your area gets, some all-season tires should do the job fine. If your area gets frequent and heavy snowfall however, buying a set of dedicated winter tires would be a much better option.
Stock De-Icing Chemicals
This is a rather inexpensive, but still important, winter maintenance and prevention tip. Having a de-icer on hand is incredibly necessary, as you will not be able to go anywhere if you cannot open the locks to get in your car. It is also important to have windshield de-icing fluid as well, as you do not want to have your view obscured by a thick sheet of crystalized ice when you need to go somewhere.
Swap Out the Wiper Blades
Winter conditions can be incredibly harsh on wiper blades. Wiper blades need to be replaced once every six months. That said, buying rubber-clad blades will help you fight ice build-up. You can occasionally wipe the edge of the blade with a paper towel to prolong its life, but this should not be done for the entire length of the winter.
Check the Oil
This is something that you should already be doing year-round, but checking the oil is especially important to do come winter. Motor oil, when left alone during the winter, will thicken due to the cold. This in turn makes it difficult for the engine to turn over, causing it to work harder to produce the same amount of output. This causes the engine to lose efficiency, and gas usage to go up meaning more trips to the pump.
Get the Battery Checked
Cold temperatures have a serious negative impact on the cranking power of a vehicle. When the temperature gets down to 0° F, the battery only has about half the cranking power that it would have if the temperature were 80° F. Make sure to test the battery’s charge and replace it if it is weak. Use the vehicle regularly so that the battery will not lose power over time from sitting stationary. Check for corrosion from cable connections and posts and scrape it away while wearing rubber gloves. Retighten all connections and clean all of the surfaces.
Check the Heater and Defroster
These are two key car components to have in working order during the winter months. If you do not have a working heater, you will have a rather cold ride to work or wherever you happen to be headed. It is important to have a working defroster as well, as you will need to be able to clear any fog or ice from your windshield and windows.
Do System Flushes and Fluid Changes
It is important to have all of your systems flushed out with new fluids periodically. This is especially important with antifreeze in the winter. You do not want to have to have your systems frozen over and prevented from working properly when you need to hit the road. During the colder weather, make sure that your coolant mixture is 60/40 or 70/30 on antifreeze and water.
Get Brakes Checked
Getting your brakes checked periodically is of the utmost importance, not just for winter time, but for any time of the year. It could not only cost you a lot in repair bills in the long run, but it could also be incredibly detrimental in a dangerous situation out on the road. It is especially important for your safety that you can come to a complete stop at a moment’s notice when the roads start getting slick and icy.