Don’t overlook winterizing your car for those important road trips.
The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder. Thank goodness fall has finally arrived! However, that means you’ve got a laundry list of chores to complete before winter sets in. While we all winterize our homes for the betterment, we also need to do the same for our vehicles. I’m sharing the most important steps to winterizing your car so that when you’re on your next road trip, you’ll have a nice clean, and winterized car to travel in.
Related: Tips to Stay Healthy During the Winter Months
Important Steps To Winterizing Your Car
for various reasons relating to reliability, efficiency, and performance. The extreme temperatures in the summer and winter months both call for special attention to your automobiles. Here are tips to keep your car or truck’s components as safe, reliable, and efficient as possible this winter.
Related: Take Care of Your Car During a Road Trip
Add Alcohol to Wiper Fluid
The regular formulation of windshield wiper fluid isn’t much good for temperatures under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. You can buy different formulations with lower freezing points from any store, but they will cost slightly more, and the only difference in most instances is the addition of alcohol to the mixture. By adding alcohol to regular windshield washer fluid, you will not only save money but have the opportunity to target the ratio to average lows in your region. Washer fluid with alcohol not only freezes slower but aids in removing ice from your windshield. Having your wiper fluid reservoir full is even more critical in the winter when slush and other grime coats the roadways.
Don’t Forget That Routine Oil Change
It would help if you were getting ready for a routine oil change anyway, and lousy engine lubrication is a leading cause of problems in the winter. This is also the time of year when you may consider switching to lower viscosity oil. The colder it gets, the thicker your oil will run. It isn’t always necessary, but many mechanics recommend switching from a 10w30 weight to a 5w30 or even 5w20 weight oil. The first number is the oil’s viscosity in a cold engine, the second is the viscosity level in a hot engine, and higher numbers indicate thicker oil. Always refer to your owner’s manual or recommendation from your dealership, and never deviate from what is specified.
Check The Engine Coolant
Engine coolant keeps your engine from overheating and protects against corrosion. While stock anti-freeze mixed at the proper ratio is fine for most parts of the country, check the manufacturer’s specifications for the correct type of coolant. And, while you’re at it, check the coolant’s mixture ratio and freezing point to ensure your mix will handle the most extreme temperatures possible in your region. Regular water will freeze, and a mix of 60 percent coolant, and 40 percent water is a good ratio for most types of coolants in even the coldest winter months.
Take Care Of Your Car’s Battery
The cold weather affects your battery more than any other vehicle component. You must clean all the corrosion from the posts and check the connections around the terminals. Use a multimeter to measure your battery’s ability to hold a charge. If a cell is damaged, your battery is more than three years old, or you have had to boost this particular battery in the past, I recommend replacing it before the weather turns.
Check Tire Wear And Pressure
Warm weather causes air to expand, and the opposite is true for cold weather. Use a gauge to ensure your tires are at the recommended pressure even when it is cold outside. Besides snow and ice, the cold temperatures also cause your tires to get harder. Hard tires offer less traction, so having good tread is even more crucial in the winter.
Stock Emergency Items For Winter
No matter what you do, there is always the chance you could still find yourself broken down beside the road. In the worst-case scenario, you could be stranded far from civilization in a dead cell service area. I recommend adding some warm blankets, a winter jacket, a can of spray de-icer, some kitty litter, and some snow chains to your breakdown kit.
Spray de-icer will immediately melt ice where ever you spray it. Melting the ice around your wheels is sometimes enough to get traction when you are stuck. Having the supplies to keep warm can be the difference between life and death, and lack of preparation has proved fatal much too often to take chances.
These steps to winterizing your car are vital for you to do before your next road trip!
Happy road tripping!
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