Winter Car Maintenance Tips
Harsh winter conditions are a big challenge for all of us, even our cars. Like with most things, the solution is to act before trouble knocks on our door, or in this case, winter. We have compiled a list of winter car maintenance tips that will ensure you make it to spring without a scratch.
Prepare your car for winter
As soon as you feel the first cold breeze in the fall, get your car ready for winter. Being properly prepared for the winter is winning half the battle. There are things that need to be done and fluids to be checked, let’s get to it!
Check your coolant levels and windscreen washer fluid
It is not the level of the engine coolant and the windscreen washer fluid that matters, it is also the type. While it is important that you have enough of both, it is important that they are both suitable for winter temperatures.
Fit winter tires
Another fundamental part of winter preparation is fitting winter tires, even if there is not any snow in your area. Make sure your winter tires are not older than 3 years and that they have enough tread depth. The grip of winter tires on ice and snow is up to 50% better than with summer tires. They also stick to the road better in lower temperatures because they are made out of softer rubber.
Check your battery
Low temperatures put additional stress on your car’s battery. A cold battery works with reduced cranking power but at the same time, it has to provide even more power to turn over an ice-cold engine. If your battery was in bad shape during the summer, it will usually fail over the winter. This can leave you stranded and in need of help. Any car battery that is older than 4-5 years, should be checked by a professional before the first winter cold.
Clean or replace your windshield wipers
Windscreen wipers are essential for proper visibility and therefore your safety. They also work much harder and often during the winter. If your wipers tend to leave streaks or rub loudly, this means it is time for a checkup. Try wiping them down with a damp, clean cloth. If that does not help, replacing them is the only option. This is an essential part of your car so don’t try and cut corners.
Taking care of your door seals
Damp, wet conditions coupled with low temperatures can make your door seals freeze. Pulling on a frozen door can result in torn door seals which are not cheap to fix. There are many inexpensive car care products based on glycerine which you can apply on your door seals before the cold kicks in. The glycerine in the product will prevent doors from freezing shut. A simple and effective trick that isn’t nearly enough talked about!
Throwing a foldable shovel and a big blanket into the trunk of your car is never a bad idea during the winter. Pack some additional snacks too. You never know where and for how long you might get stuck in those cold temperatures.
Winter is here – what now?
Don’t worry, all you have to do is spend a bit more time with your car, take care of it a bit more and that’s it! Who doesn’t love the sound of that? We bet some of you reading this don’t, but still, taking care of your car during the winter is not rocket science. Here is what we recommend you do:
Wash your car more frequently
Salt, moisture, and dirt residues on your car and under your car are a perfect combination for faster development of rust. We recommend washing the car more frequently. It is best if you do it on frost-free days. Then there is no risk of water residues freezing the door locks or even parts of the braking system.
Keep your interior clean and dry
If there is snow in your area, make sure you bring as little as possible into your car. Melting snow and moisture does not dry themselves out as fast due to the low temperatures. This can lead to damp, musty smells coming from your carpeting. We recommend you use rubber floor mats and that you ventilate your car from time to time when it’s warmer. A regular vacuuming session is also more than welcome!
Taking care of stone chips
Because road services use gravel to increase the grip on icy roads, it is more common to catch those little flying stones in the front of your car and on your windshield. They cause stone chips on your paintwork and even small cracks on your windshield. Stone chips might puncture through your zinc anti-corrosion layer of the paintwork. This can lead to corrosion which is never an easy fix. If you feel like the stone chip is deep or you actually see rust developing, have it fixed as soon as possible. The same goes for any windshield cracks.
Be seen and stay seen
We spend a lot more time driving in the dark during the winter. This is why having all lights working is essential! Ask a friend to step behind and in front of the car to see if all your lights are working as they should. Most modern cars will tell you if any light bulbs gave up on you, but checking them manually does not take much time either.
Defrost your windscreen
Having perfect visibility should always be your priority. Make sure you always defrost your windscreen, even if it is annoying and time-consuming. Invest in a good ice scrubber, have your car warm up and defrost or buy a de-icing solution spray. It is also important that you never run your windscreen wipers over the ice. The jagged ice surface will damage the rubber wipers which leads to streaks and bad visibility.
Remove all the snow
If your car is covered in snow, make sure you brush it all off with a clean, soft bristle hand brush or broom. If you only clear snow from your windscreen, you still leave snow on the roof of your car which flies off as you drive. The blinded driver behind you will not be happy about it.
Winter conditions require you to be a bit more attentive and alert about the condition of your car. Along with the winter maintenance tips we provided you before, we recommend you check all your fluids more frequently. But most importantly, you should always adjust the speed and the safety distance when you drive in cold temperatures or snow. We wish you and your car a safe and pleasant winter!