Between seasons is a great time to get a tune-up or at least look over your vehicle for potential problems or needed upkeep. Before winter is arguably the most important time to make sure everything is in order. Freezing temperatures are especially hard on your vehicle and often make driving itself more difficult. It can also be more dangerous for you if your car does break down in sub-zero temperatures.
Clean Your Windows
Winter visibility can be low, sometimes dangerously so, even under the best conditions. Keeping your windows as clean as possible will help you maintain better visibility even in poor weather. Applying a product like Rain-X to your windshield will help dispel water and prevent ice and snow from building up and blocking your vision.
Top off Anti-Freeze
Refilling your anti-freeze is pretty common sense. Less obvious is replacing other automobile fluids with special winter formulations. Winter weight oils are designed for freezing temperatures. Windshield wiper fluid comes in a cold-weather formula as well. These swaps will help your vehicle run at its best and avoid common freezing-weather hangups.
Replace Balding Tires
Tires that feel fine in the dry months can become a major safety hazard when seasons change. Tires with worn-out tread can slip and slide in snow and ice, or even in the rain. When replacing tires, go with reputable brands. If you are unsure which tires are best for your vehicle, ask for advice from a shop you trust. If your area calls for it, consider snow tires. Chains should never be driven on normal dry roads, but have them ready
Check Your Visibility
Test your heating and defroster before the temperature falls too low. If your defroster isn’t working properly, it can be nearly impossible to see in freezing weather. If you’ve ever had to drive around in the cold with all of your windows open then you know how scary and miserable it can be. Get those systems checked well before temps are expected to drop.
Take Care of Your Battery
Cold weather can reduce your battery power by as much as 50%, yet it often has to work harder in those conditions with increased electrical demands – heating, defrosters and wipers suddenly working 24/7. A car battery typically lasts 3-5 years so keep track and replace accordingly. Even if your battery is fairly new, you should take a close look at your battery cables – Inspect for any signs of corrosion and make sure that everything is securely connected.
Care for Your Transmission in Winter
Give your car extra time to warm up in cold temps. If your vehicle isn’t sufficiently warmed up, you may notice your gears shifting more slowly than usual. Frequently driving without letting your car warm up can even cause permanent damage to your transmission. Go easy with your driving and allow yourself more time on trips than you would in warmer seasons. It seems simple but just giving your vehicle a bit of extra TLC can go a long way.
Did we forget any cold-weather vehicle and driving tips? Leave your own tips and tricks in the comments below!