Top Tips for Getting Your Car Ready for Winter
Low temperatures, road salt residue and dirt can wreak havoc on your vehicle. However, with just a little maintenance, preparation and simple checking, you can help your car stay in shape through the long season ahead.
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Visibility is essential. Check your wipers and replace them if they show any signs of cracking or stiffness. Always use a brush and a scraper to remove ice and snow from your windshield. If you park outside, lift the wipers before an overnight snow; this will help prevent them from freezing to the windshield. You can expect to use your windshield washers a lot, so keep your washer reservoir filled with a solution that contains an antifreeze agent (water alone can freeze in the lines). Make sure your heater is working, and that warm air is directed to the windshield when in defrost mode. Always check to make sure that your lights are working properly and clear of ice and snow.
You may want to consider switching to a winter tire, if you drive a lot in slippery conditions. They feature tread patterns and rubber compounds designed for optimum traction on slick roads. And think about mounting the winter tires on inexpensive st4eel wheels. Not only does this make it make it easier to switch between the two sets of tires, but it will also save your expensive alloy wheels from the damage winter conditions can distribute.
In winter, it’s important to keep your battery in good shape. With conventional batteries, add distilled water if your fluid level is low. On maintenance-free batteries, check the window at the top to make sure it’s indicating a fully-charged state.
While most cars use multi-weight oil that is suitable for a range of temperatures, it’s always a good idea to check your owner’s manual and see if your manufacturer recommends a specific grade of oil for low temperatures. In extremely low temperatures, it might be advisable to install an engine block heater.
When the engine is cold, check your cooling system hoses for cracking, leaking or contamination. Most vehicles should have the cooling system flushed every two years; if yours is due soon, have it done before winter arrives.
Lubricate the door and trunk locks with a silicone spray or door-lock lubricant; this helps keep water from getting into them and then freezing. If they’ve already frozen, a lock antifreeze product will help thaw them.
Protect the car’s paint by giving it a fresh coat of wax, and then keep it regularly washed during the winter. It’s always a good idea to wash the wheel wells and underbody, in order to prevent road salt from building up. If you don’t already have floor mats, pick some up. They help protect the carpet from water and mud that inevitably gets tracked into the vehicle.
Let your engine warm up before you drive off, allowing the oil a chance to heat up and flow more smoothly. Drive gently until the temperature gauge starts to rise, or until the cold engine light goes out. And remember that cars can still overheat in winter, especially if the radiator grille is clogged with snow.
For ultimate peace of mind, contact the Service Department at Reineke Motors, Inc. and schedule a service appointment. Our skilled team will be happy to make sure your vehicle is winter-ready.