Although the calendar says spring starts on March 20, it’s not rare to experience winter storms well into April. So it’s never too late to make sure your car is ready for the worst that winter has to offer. Here are 9 tips to keep your car running great.
- Change your oil
This is something you should be doing when needed, but in the winter months it’s especially important. You may need to change the type of oil you use altogether. Check your owner’s manual to find out what viscosity you should be using in freezing temperatures. Stop by and save money on many oil change packages available at a discounted cost.
- Check your battery
Cold temperatures mean your engine needs more current from the battery in order to start so you want to make sure the battery is functioning properly. Start by making sure you have enough charge left in your battery. The simplest way to check is by turning on your headlights before you start your engine. Then turn your engine on – if the lights get brighter your battery may be dying. You’ll also want to check the cables for cracks and breaks. Stop by for a free battery test.
- Change your washer fluid and windshield wipers
Buy a good washer fluid with an antifreeze solution – regular fluids just won’t cut it in freezing temperatures. You should replace your windshield wipers every 6-12 months depending on wear and tear.
- Check your defroster and heater
These types of repairs can be costly, but you really need your defroster and heater to function properly in order to drive safely in the winter. However, one tip that may save you money on a defroster repair, is to check for air leaks around doors and windows. Leaks can allow in extra moisture that will make it seem like you have a broken defroster.
- Check your tires
This could mean a couple of different things – you may want to invest in snow tires or just make sure your current tires aren’t too worn out. If you don’t buy snow tires, you’ll want to check the air pressure on your current tires. On newer cars, the recommended cold tire pressure is most commonly listed on a sticker inside the driver’s door. Check your tread for wear and tear as well. Also remember that if you do skid on an icy road don’t slam on your brakes! Take your foot off the gas and turn into the skid until you come to a complete stop.
- Check your 4-wheel drive and know how to use it
At the risk of stating the obvious, you’ll want to know how to use your 4-wheel drive before winter hits. Make sure new drivers in the household know how it works.
- Keep your gas tank filled
We’ve always known that you shouldn’t let your gas tank get all the way to empty in the winter (or any other time for that matter) but never really knew why until today. Apparently the cold weather can cause condensation to form in an empty or near empty gas tank. That water can drip down into the gas and sink to the bottom where it can then travel into your fuel lines. In the winter it can freeze in your fuel lines and block the flow of gas to your engine. So keep your tank at least a 1/4-1/2 full at all times.
- Have adeicer handy at home or in your purse/briefcase
It’s not uncommon for car doors to freeze shut in the winter. You can use warm water if you have access to some or you can buy glycerin to have on hand in an emergency.
- Beef up your car emergency kit
If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car now is the time to get one! If you do have one you may want to add a few winter essentials – a soft-bristled snow brush, plastic scrapper, kitty litter or salt, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, flares, gloves, a coat, snow boots, a couple of blankets.
The best tip for driving in severe winter weather conditions is to avoid it. If you must drive in winter weather, be sure to allow extra time to drive from one place to another. At Croton Auto Park we are your Good Neighbor Dealer and we want you to be safe this winter.