Winter Car Maintenance Tips

Harsh winter weather is rough for both you and your vehicle. You need essential winter car maintenance tune-ups to keep your vehicle working properly and driving safely. Even if the cold outside invigorates you, there comes a time during the winter season where you’d like nothing more than to hunker down with hot chocolate by a blazing fire. But what about your poor car? It sits in your driveway or garage night after night, exposed to the frigid weather with no relief. You might notice how long it takes to get the engine warm in the morning. Pay attention to these winter car maintenance suggestions and both you and your vehicle will be protected from harm caused by slippery roads, bad vision or breakdowns.

Check Your Car’s Battery

Most car owners do not think about their car’s battery until the vehicle doesn’t turn on one day. In cold weather, dead batteries are one of the biggest threats to your running vehicle. As soon as you start your car, you turn the heat on high. You use your windshield wipers more often and definitely take advantage of your heated seats. Your car is using more battery energy. At the same time, cold weather makes it increasingly difficult for your battery to charge.

Once your car battery is older than three years, have your local mechanic check your battery’s charge at least once a year. Make sure the battery ports are clean. Battery connections that are covered in rust and dirt further impede the battery’s ability to charge.

Replace Windshield Wipers

Nothing spells winter car accident like a pair of overused, rusted windshield wipers. Visibility is one of the most important parts of driving in winter weather. One option is to buy winter windshield wipers with a thick rubber coating, specially designed to take care of heavy precipitation. Either way, proper winter car maintenance should focus on making your commute safer by giving you a crystal clear view of the road.

Service Your Coolant System

Don’t get the wrong idea: your coolant system isn’t solely for when it’s warm outside. Your vehicle’s cooling system ensures against engine freeze in extreme temperatures as well. Schedule an annual radiator flush for when winter months are on the horizon, if recommended for your make and model. On your own, be aware of any leaks and make sure your antifreeze is filled to the appropriate level. While it might be tempting to mix antifreeze with water or use mostly water when filling the coolant system, don’t do it. In cold months, make sure the coolant mixture is made up of at least 70 percent antifreeze. Using mainly water can result in expensive damage to your car when the reservoir freezes and breaks.

Be Aware of Tire Traction

Stay up-to-date on your tire wear. You don’t want to enter the snowy season with a set of tires that are almost bald. Slipping and sliding is a fun activity when you’re on a sled, not in your car. If the treads are worn down, purchase a new set of winter tires or all-season tires. Go the extra mile and maintain the right tire pressure all winter. Tires filled to the correct air pressure perform better and will also help you save on gas.

If you are involved in a winter driving accident, contact your local collision repair shop right away. Follow smart winter car maintenance guidelines and you will have confidence when you take your car out on the road this winter.