How to Look After Your Car in Winter

Car maintenance in winter

Winter comes with dark, cold weather and unfriendly driving conditions, and it can cause problems for your vehicle on the inside as well as on the outside.

While defrosting your windshield and making sure the inside is toasty warm might be the focus for you on those cold winter mornings, if you take some time to prepare your car for the winter before the temperatures drop, you can avoid costly problems down the line.

The winter driving conditions will be different in California to the conditions in Colorado, but the best thing to do is to make sure you are ready for the worst possible conditions in your area.

Below are five simple things that you can do to make sure that your car is ready for winter

Check Your Coolant

If the proportion of water to antifreeze is not adjusted to suit the temperature, you are at risk of the water in your coolant system freezing. If this happens, your vehicle will overheat, causing the risk of a breakdown and an expensive fix.

If you are not sure about the mix in your system, the best thing to do is to flush the system and refill it with the appropriate mixture.

Check Your Tires

Tires are unbelievably important to both safety on the road and performance. Normal rubber on tires will harden in the cold, which means that on a slick or slippery road, you will have less grip.

If you are somewhere that regularly gets snow, you might add snow chains to your tires – or you might want to swap them out for snow tires like the ones you can get from Yokohama Tires. Winter tires are made from a specific type of rubber, and they have deeper treads to deal with snowy and icy driving conditions.

Check the Oil and Fuel

You should regularly check your oil levels, and most people think about doing this before a long journey. The level should be between the minimum and maximum mark on the dipstick. If the level is too low, you are at risk of breakdown and quite serious (and expensive) engine damage. In the winter, make sure that you check your oil level when the engine is warm – the levels will look lower in the cold, and too much oil can be dangerous for the engine too, especially on high-mileage vehicles.

When the temperature drops, gas can freeze in the fuel lines when there is condensation in the hoses. This will prevent gas from getting to the engine and gives you problems with the car starting. To combat this, make sure that you always have at least half a tank – which will be safer for you if you get stuck in a traffic jam or have to drive somewhere a bit more remote.

Test Your Battery

Car batteries should be changed at least every three years, and you might notice that your battery might be going sooner than that when the weather gets colder – batteries are much more likely to fail in the cold.

Changing your battery early might save you money in the long term because you don’t want to end up with a car that can’t start – extra callout charges for recovery could be too much of a risk.

Protect Your Bodywork

Salting the roads might help reduce the risk of ice building up, but salt can damage the bodywork of your paint – and the cold can make it worse.

If you can, try to keep your vehicle in the garage overnight – but if that isn’t possible, you should at least cover it up. You might not be able to prevent salt damage while you are driving, but if the car is covered, then it should be easier to de-ice in the morning, and it should stay cleaner for longer.

Don’t forget to make sure that your lights and mirrors stay clean and are clear of snow and ice before you start driving.

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