Every year comes along with four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The first three seasons do not have an effect on your car, but the last one, winter, could affect it. Winter comes with snow in most of the cold states, in others just freezing temperatures. If you do not prepare yourself, or rather your car, for this season, you may be in for quite a hassle. Some cars can withstand this season but others do not function well in this weather. If you follow these simple steps, you are sure to get your car fully ready for winter.
1. Change your oil
During the winter most liquids tend to freeze or become really thick. Oil is no exception to this. When your oil is thick, it does not do its job of lubricating your engine effectively. You may need to change the type of oil you normally would use and get one that will work efficiently and lubricate your engine without any problem during this season. Check your owner’s manual to find out the viscosity of the oil you should be using in freezing temperatures. In most cases, you may need to use a thinner type of oil.
2. Get the antifreeze mixture just right
Most of the time the ratio between your antifreeze or coolant and water is 50/50, but in winter try to keep it at 60/40. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even at these extremely cold temperatures.
3. Check your battery
Your engine will need more current from the battery in order to start in winter. So ensure you check if your battery has enough charge left in it. You can use a voltmeter to check for this or turn your headlights on and check if they are as bright as when the car is on. You should also check to ensure your battery has enough fluid. This will help you avoid having to wait for a good Samaritan to jump start your car in the middle of a snowstorm.
4. Change your windshield wipers and washer fluid
Most windshield wipers last for about a year, and since winter comes at the end of a year, you should consider replacing your windshield wipers. You should also replace your windshield washer fluid and put one with antifreeze solution in it to prevent it from freezing.
5. Check your tires
First you will need to check the air pressure in your tires. Check your owner’s manual to see the amount of pressure your tires should have during the winter. Check your tread for wear and tear to ensure you do not go skidding on the icy roads. If you do not want to go through all this, or if where you live there is a lot of snow, you can invest in snow tires. These tires will ensure you go through the snow with ease and you would not get into an accident.
6. Ensure your four-wheel drive works
It is very important to ensure your four-wheel drive system works properly. If you disengaged it during the nice summer weather, you will need to re-engage it in this season. You should also ensure that everyone who drives your car knows how to engage the four-wheel drive system.
7. Keep your gas tank full
The freezing cold temperatures of winter can cause condensation to occur in an empty or almost empty gas tank. The drops of water that form due to condensation can drip down into the gas and since water is denser, it will sink to the bottom. From there, it can get into your fuel lines and freeze and block the flow of gas to your engine. So ensure your tank is from a quarter to halfway full.
8. Prepare an emergency kit
Store the following in your trunk as it might come in handy: an extra pair of warm clothes, tire chains if you’re going into mountainous areas, blankets, snow boots and gloves, a small shovel, flares, a flashlight and extra batteries, jumper cables, salt, extra water and food especially granola bars, a coat, a tool kit, and an ice scraper.