Have Your Car Serviced for Winter Conditions

1. Before you hit any harsh winter conditions, have your vehicle serviced to prepare it for the challenges winter can pose.

  • Battery – Battery power decreases as the temperature drops, meaning that it takes more power to start your car in the winter. If your battery is already having problems, your risk of breaking down increases. It is recommended that your auto care provider installs a battery at or above 600 CCA for optimal winter performance.
  • Cooling System – It is recommended to maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. Ask your technician what antifreeze should be used for your vehicle and the appropriate coolant-to-water ratio to prevent against corrosion and potential freezing.
  • Brakes – While cold weather doesn’t necessarily hurt your brakes, a thorough inspection can ensure the best performance when driving in winter conditions.
  • Belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires and cables – These can go bad at any time of year, but if they go bad during the winter, you could be stranded in a very cold place for a very long time.

2. Check your Tires

It’s possible to use all-season tires in winter conditions however, this won’t offer you the maximum performance you may need in your environment.

If you live in a place that experiences extremely cold winter temperatures, it is recommended that you install winter tires when winterizing your car. When the temperature consistently hovers around or below freezing, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden, decreasing the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction in ice, snow, slush, and even dry pavement.

If you live in an area that doesn’t normally have intense winters, all-season tires should be acceptable. However, if you live somewhere with harsh winters or regularly visit places that do, winter tires are the safest choice for you.

3. Maintain Tire Pressure

Every 10° change in ambient temperature could mean a gain or loss of 1 PSI. This means you should check pressure more regularly during winter and refill your tires as needed. Appropriate pressure for your tires can be found on the tire placard in the driver’s side door jamb or in your vehicle owner’s manual.

Check for Changing Temperatures that could Affect Traction

Before going out for a long winter drive, check to see how temperatures may change while you’re out. Changing temperatures can affect both your traction and driving ability if there is a sudden change that you’re not prepared for.

For example, how you should drive in 0° weather is much different than how you can drive in 32° weather. You generally have better traction at 0° than you do at 32° due to surfaces becoming more slippery at these higher winter temperatures.

5. Install Winter Wipers

These come equipped with rubber that keeps ice from collecting on the blades. Just be sure to remove them when spring rolls around. As winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on all the time increases the load on the wiper motor.

6. Keep Washer Fluid Full

Replace your windshield wiper fluid often. A single snowstorm can exhaust a large amount of this fluid, so refill the washer reservoir frequently with windshield wiper fluid formulated for winter conditions. If you’re unsure if your washer fluid is the right formula for low temperatures, add a bottle of washer fluid antifreeze to the reservoir. You’ll find it at most auto parts stores.

7. Pack a Winter Safety Kit

Before heading off on a trip, store common tools and supplies in your car in case of an emergency.

Written by Developer Autoshop

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