Winter weather can take a toll on your car. From draining your battery to straining your engine, cold temperatures and winter precipitation affect the way your vehicle performs. Here’s a brief guide to essential winter car maintenance to keep your vehicle running its best no matter how bad the weather gets this season.
Check your battery
Keeping a close eye on your battery is one of the most important steps to take when it comes to winterizing a car. When temperatures drop, it reduces your battery’s cranking power significantly. Check your battery by removing the plastic caps on the top and checking fluid levels. Add distilled water if fluid levels are low. You could also have your battery professionally tested at your nearest service station—it could just need a simple charge to get you through the winter.
Check the oil
Cold weather affects your engine in negative ways, too. As temperatures drop, motor oil thickens, making it harder for the engine to turn over. Changing the oil to a winter blend is an essential winter car maintenance step. Choose an oil that has a “W” in the viscosity index, which indicates it’s appropriate for winter use. When you change the oil, make sure to change the oil filter, too, which will help ensure your engine has an appropriate amount of flow.
Replace the wiper blades
Studies have shown that even the highest-quality wiper blades start degrading after six months, which means you should likely be replacing your wiper blades more often than you think. If you’re noticing streaks or your wiper blades are missing the glass entirely, invest in replacement before winter precipitation arrives.
Consider new tires
The condition of your tires directly affects your safety as you drive. While tires always need plenty of traction to keep your vehicle in contact with the road, it’s even more important if snow or ice cover the streets. Drivers in areas that receive occasional snow should invest in a new set of all-season tires. They’ll perform well in snowy and icy driving and braking situations, helping you safely navigate the roads throughout the winter.
Keep the gas tank full
It’s much more important to keep your gas tank full in the winter than it is in the summer. A full tank reduces condensation, preventing gas line freeze-ups when outside temperatures plummet. In addition, if you find yourself stranded for whatever reason, you’ll need the gas to keep the engine running so you can stay warm until help arrives.
Maintain appropriate tire pressure
Swings in temperature affect the air pressure in your tires. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly, and refill them with air whenever necessary. Refer to the tire placard on your driver’s side door jamb to determine the appropriate tire pressure for your vehicle.
Need help winterizing your car? Contact Madison Muffler & Auto Repair today and schedule a quick checkup with our team of experienced automotive technicians. We know what it takes to keep your vehicle on the road and running its best, all winter long.