Everything You Need to Know About Winterizing Your Car
The winter months are hard on cars. Cold temperatures, dirt, and road-salt residue can all cause a wide variety of issues ranging from cosmetic to functional. Winterizing your car is a great way to protect it against many of these, provided you go about it the right way.
Why Is Winterizing Your Car Important?
Why Is Winterizing Your Car Important?
There are several reasons to winterize your car. One is that it can prevent damage that results from cold-weather exposure. Road-salt runoff can cause corrosion in the engine bay, as well as under the chassis-which means that any exposed metal parts are subject to rust and pitting. In addition, if your vehicle isn't driven as often it can suffer from reduced lubrication which, over time, can cause damage to the engine.
Similarly, low temperatures make for challenging operating conditions. When the temperature drops, the engine could have issues starting up as cold-start conditions limit your car's ability to vaporize the fuel. On top of this, icy roads and reduced visibility dramatically increase the likelihood of accidents without proper preparation.
How To Winterize Your Car
Winterizing is a general term that describes the process of getting a car ready for the cold, winter months. With that being said, the process isn't one-size-fits-all. How you go about winterizing your car will depend on the kind of vehicle you drive, how old it is, and where you live. Still, there are a few common practices that have a huge impact on safety and damage reduction during the winter months:
Installing Winter Wipers
Winter wipers are essential for removing the mud and salt from your car's windshield. They're usually larger, more durable, and able to remove ice from your windshield in seconds.
Installing Winter Tires
When winter weather hits, it's sometimes hard to tell if roads have been salted or not. Driving on a bare road is a lot safer than driving a road that has a layer of snow or ice visible on top of it. Installing winter tires keeps you safe by providing better traction on slippery surfaces than all-season tires would provide. In case you're not convinced, a Canadian study recently found that universal adoption of winter tires reduces winter traffic accidents by 5%.
Getting Your Fluids Checked and Filled
Cold weather makes for challenging conditions under the hood of your car, so it's important to check and fill your fluids before the winter weather hits. One common winter-time fluid issue is leakage. If you see signs of leakage on the ground underneath your car, that means that your coolant (usually green or orange in color) has frozen solid thanks to temperature deprivation. Similarly, oil can become thicker in cold-weather months lose some of its lubricating ability if not changed beforehand. It's important to address these issues before they become major problems.
Checking and Replacing Your Battery
Most batteries for cars simply aren't designed to handle the cold. That means that without pre-winter maintenance, your car could die at the moment when you least expect it.
You can check and replace your battery yourself if you have the tools and knowledge required. Otherwise, take it to your local auto shop and let them do it for you so you don't damage anything.
Investing In an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit for your car can make all the difference when you get stranded. This should include at least one full-size spare tire, a handful of ice scrapers, fluid containers (including windshield washer fluid), jumper cables, and a flashlight with batteries.
Winterizing Your Car Is Important for Preventing Damage
There are several reasons why it's important to invest in winterizing your car. Primarily, it helps prevent damage from the cold weather that most drivers deal with during the winter months. By investing in a few supplies and doing regular maintenance, you're reducing the chances of costly – or downright dangerous – issues popping up.