MONICATTI WINTER CAR MAINTENANCE TIPS
2/18/2022 - 5:00 PM
Sometimes it seems as though winter will never end! We get a few
nice, warm days and then BAM, Mother Nature dumps some more
snow on us! For many drivers, facing the challenges of salted streets,
icy roads, freezing temperatures, and heavy snow can be quite
daunting. So how do you keep your vehicle in top condition during
the winter months? Plan ahead and use our car care tips to make
sure your vehicle stays in great shape all winter long.
Tip # 1: CHECK YOUR LIGHTS
One major hazard with winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in
the day, which means there’s less daylight, especially on your
commute home. As a result, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle’s
lights are in excellent shape, providing the brightest possible
illumination they can. If a bulb is out, fix it before winter starts, and
if there’s snow covering any exterior light, make sure you remove it
before setting off to drive anywhere. If your headlights are foggy or
yellow, consider replacing them or look into an easy restoration kit.
Tip # 2: MAINTAIN YOUR BATTERY
It’s often more difficult for a car battery to operate in cold weather
than it is for it to operate in warm weather. As a result, a battery
that’s merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery
during the winter. Our advice is to have a volt test performed on
your battery before winter starts to make sure it’s still in good
working order. If it isn’t, buy a new battery as soon as possible so
you’ll never have to worry about being stranded or left in a cold
parking lot with a car that won’t start.
Tip # 3: FLUSH & FILL THE COOLANT
Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is tremendously important to
your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures.
Before you head into winter, make sure your car isn’t low on coolant.
Also, check to see that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s
engine components that could cause coolant to drain out. Many
mechanics recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water
in their radiator. This blend usually results in a lower engine freezing
point than just coolant.
Tip # 4: TOP OF GAS & WASHER FLUID
You might be wondering what gasoline and washer fluid could
possibly have in common. The answer is that they’re two liquids
you should try to keep full during the winter. You should keep your
gas tank full for several reasons. First, a full tank may prevent
accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump. Second,
it will allow you to run your engine longer and keep you warm if
you get stuck. Meanwhile, a full windshield-washer reservoir is
tremendously important, as messy road debris from a snowstorm
can sometimes necessitate constant window washing to see where
Tip # 5: INVEST IN WINTER TIRES
All-wheel drive can be confidence-inspiring when you’re
accelerating, but it doesn’t help you when you’re braking and turning,
experts say. For drivers who live in areas where the temperature
regularly drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, winter tires are a must.
Winter tires are more capable of staying flexible at low temperatures.
This means that they can provide improved traction when you’re
trying to stop and turn on cold pavement, even if there’s no snow on
Tip # 6: STAY ON TOP OF TIRE PRESSURE
It’s incredibly important to keep track of your tire pressure as
temperatures get colder. This is because tire pressure can drop along
with the air temperature, losing up to one pound per square inch
with every 10-degree drop in air temperature. Driving around with
low tire pressure could mean premature tire wear or potential tread
separation, which could lead to a major accident. Also, your car
handles less predictably with underinflated tires. If you check your
tire pressure and find that one or more of your tires are low on air, fill
them at a gas station air pump. Don’t forget to let out a little air as
temperatures start to climb again in the spring.
Tip # 7: TEST YOUR HEATER & DEFROSTER
Before winter gets into full swing, be sure to check your car’s
window defroster and climate control system to make sure both
work properly. Their purpose is obvious: The climate control
system will help keep you warm in the winter (and can help keep
your windows from fogging up), while the defroster will keep your
windows from icing up. Both items are crucial to maintaining
comfort and safety throughout the winter. Then again, you could be
lucky enough to own a car with a heated windshield!
Tip # 8: PACK A SURVIVAL KIT
Although this isn’t a car care tip as much as a winter preparedness tip,
we suggest considering a survival kit for your vehicle if you want to
really be ready for winter. While it might sound ridiculous for some urban
drivers, motorists in rural areas might find themselves stuck on a deserted
road with heavy snow falling and few vehicles around for miles. In any event,
a survival kit is a good idea. Select one that’s stocked with the following:
Multi-tool that includes a knife
Flashlight and charger or batteries
Cellphone charger and extra battery
Sand or cat litter
Because snow and ice cause hazardous driving conditions and it can make
it difficult for other vehicles to see you or your car, be cautious and remain
vigilant if you must pull off to the side of a road or interstate.
(NOTE: Information taken from an article posted on the AutoTrader website.
Monicatti Auto Sales & Service is a proud sponsor of AutoTrader and lists
all of our vehicles on their website.)