Winter is coming, like it or not. The mercury has dipped this week and it is very important you get your car ready for Jack Frost’s arrival in the coming weeks. I know making sure your seat heaters work is probably at the top of your priority list, but there are some other things your car needs. Here are some things you need to check before winter hits:
The absolute number one thing to consider as we get into winter is the condition of your tires. Tires are the only thing connecting your car to the ground, and when we get snow and ice, you need the best traction you can get. For the few days of snow a year we get here, a set of good all-season tires with 50% or more tread should be fine. Take a look or have us measure the tread to be sure you’re safe. Check your tire pressure too, as cold air shrinks and your tires may need to be topped off as a result.
Winter is hard on your engine and demands more of the fluids in your car. Before it gets cold, get a fresh oil change. In the cold, oil can develop condensation and not warming up to full temperature can cause acids to form in the oil, both of which can cause corrosion and wear. Also, test your coolant to be sure the engine won’t freeze and crack, and your heater will work. All fresh coolant is cheap insurance. All the other fluids, transmission, brake, power steering, etc all need to be in good shape. Come see us to check it all out!
Contrary to popular belief, winter cold doesn’t kill your battery. Summer heat causes the water in the battery acid to evaporate and wear the battery down. When the battery is cold, the reaction that produces electricity slows down, and thicker fluids make the engine slower to turn over. Both factors will make a weakened battery unable to start the car in the cold. We can test your battery and charging system to make sure your car starts even on the coldest days.
Yes, check your trunk. In the fall, you should take a nice day and swap out your summer goodies for winter necessities. That extra swimsuit and beach towel can come out of the trunk, and the spare flip-flops can go too. Make sure you have blankets to keep warm, an ice scraper, deicer, something for traction like kitty litter, tire chains, or cardboard. If you don’t already keep an emergency kit and food/water in your car, now is a good idea to put some in there. We always recommend a flashlight as well.
Wash your car often in the winter, especially after snow or salt has been on the road. A touchless car wash with underbody is great for getting salt and debris off the bottom of your car that can cause rust and corrosion. Salt is the number one cause of rusty cars, so do your best to wash it off as soon as possible.