Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to Winterize your Car

Next Sunday is the first day of winter. As you could tell by our past few articles, that means a change of climate not just for you, but for you car as well! 
  • Engine oil. A drop in outside temperature influences the internal temperature of your engine as well. Particularly if you live where temperatures can get below freezing, you want thinner, less viscous oil (for example, moving from 10W-40 grade oil to 5W-30). You can refer to your car manual for further information
  • Engine coolant. The coolant protects against both overheating and corrosion. Make sure your coolant is a proper mix of antifreeze and water (about 60% coolant with ethylene glycol to 40% water).
  • Car battery. Battery capacity is reduced by cold weather, even up to 50%. Have your battery, cables, terminals, and fluids inspected before the cold weather sets in, especially if you have an older car. Check the cables for cracks and breaks, make sure the terminal isn't loose, and refill the battery fluid with distilled water if the level is below the bottom of the cap.
  • Tires. Have your tires rotated and inspected, since they will be mixing with the snow, sleet, an ice. Check the tire pressure, which is particularly important for the winter to maintain better traction (you can refer to the owner's manual for the appropriate tire pressure). Consider buying a set of snow tires to change into only for the winter season if you live in an extreme-weather area, and change back into regular tires in the spring for better fuel efficiency and handling.
  • Windshield. Visibility accounts for 90% of driver reaction, and can be impaired during winter months due to precipitation and salt buildup. Make sure to check the condition of your windshield wiper blades and wiper fluid reservoir. To clear off cold, heavy grime, select a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution (note that some can be harsh and may cause paint damage).
  • Stock your car. Being stranded by the side of the road can be dangerous, and having these items available in your car is highly recommended: blanket, jumper cables, flashlight, chains, first-aid kit, small knife, flares, energy bars, watergloves, small shovel, waterproof matches, and ice scraper.
picture courtesy: http://www.longbeachautodetail.com/files/2012/12/winter_car.jpg