Winter Car Maintenance Tips to Outwit Old Jack Frost
The icy cold sting of winter is already slithering its way into the coldest states of America but will soon take us all by storm. Because Jack Frost feeds on tire air, wiper blades, and car brakes, it’s important to do a bit of car doctoring before taking to the slushy streets this winter. Take care to follow the winter car maintenance tips outlined below, and you’re sure to have a much safer winter driving experience—just look out for reindeer.
Winter Car Maintenance Tips
- Consider your tires. First things first, be sure you have the right kind of tires on your car. If you live in a place that gets a lot of snow (we’re looking at you, Montana), you may want to consider switching to winter tires with enough tread to keep you safe. And whether or not you elect to swap out the tires, make it a point to check tire pressure frequently. With every drop of ten degrees Fahrenheit, a tire will lose a pound of pressure—yes, seriously. For optimal safety, keep your tires properly inflated all season.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. We recommend replacing your blades twice a year, and pre-winter maintenance is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this. Snow, sleet, and fog will decrease visibility, so you’ll want to ensure you’ve got the best working blades available, or else you may as well be driving blindfolded (Please don’t actually do this).
- Manage your fluids. And no, we’re not talking about remembering bathroom breaks. In the winter months, you’ll want to keep your car’s fluids from freezing. This means changing your oil and using a thinner, less viscous product. You’ll also want to use windshield washer fluid specifically formulated not to freeze during colder temperatures, as well as an antifreeze engine coolant. Be sure to add fuel deicer to your (more than half full) tank once a month.
- Have a mechanic or trusted auto guru inspect your battery. Professional equipment is the only true way to evaluate car batteries. You don’t want a weak battery to leave you stranded far from home when it’s cold outside, so it is important to have it checked before the temperatures start dropping.
- Prepare an emergency kit. In case you are stranded, or maybe just stuck in a long traffic jam, be sure your car is equipped with all you need. Store the kit in the glove box where it’s easy accessible and the bulkier items, such as extra clothes and blankets, in the backseat instead of the trunk. Things to pack include a flashlight and radio (with batteries), flares, some provisions, a first aid kit, boots, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, and a bowl to catch snow for water. You may also consider packing extra engine oil, coolant, and washer fluid.
- Don’t get frozen out. Always carry lock de-icer with you so you don’t get locked out of your car. It might help to keep one at home and one in your desk at work.
Do you have any other winter car maintenance tips to ensure safe winter driving? Hit us with ‘em below!