Each year when cold weather rolls around, we start taking steps to protect ourselves from the elements by wearing thermals, buying a new coat, etc. Similarly, our cars require additional care as well to withstand the weather and reduce the chances of breaking down. In this article by HESSCO Roadside Assistance and Towing Innovations, we’ll explore the best steps car owners should take to protect their vehicles from damage during winters.
Install Winter Tires
Once temperatures start dropping below 46 °F (7 °C) it’s time to install winter tires on your car. Depending on where you live, you may start experiencing these temperatures towards the end of Spring as well and can do the needful, rather than waiting for the start of the official winter. As the name suggests these tires are well equipped to handle winter conditions such as low temperatures and slippery surfaces. They’re made with a soft compound that provides good grip, performance, and reliable braking in icy conditions, according to Barum.
Inspect Your Wipers
Having good visibility is paramount when driving in icy conditions which are only possible when the windscreen is clean of rain or snow. If you notice a build-up of grime on the wipers, dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe them. Not only will this clean the wipers, but also help to wipe the windscreen effectively.
Additionally, if you simply use water to wipe the windshield, it’s time to switch to a good-quality windscreen wiper fluid. As reported by The Drive, this fluid contains various types of alcohols such as methanol and ethylene glycol, which, unlike water, do not freeze at low temperatures.
Visit the Local Auto Repair Shop
Before driving in snow becomes a daily challenge, make a visit to your trusted local garage for a routine check-up. Instruct the mechanics to specifically check the following:
- Battery Health: There is nothing worse than having a dead battery while driving in snowy conditions. If your battery is nearing its maximum limit, take inputs from the mechanic regarding how to keep it healthy or consider adding a new one.
- All Lights: Headlights, taillights, turn indicators, and emergency lights should all be working seamlessly as conditions can take a turn for the worse at any time.
- Brakes: A screeching sound during braking is a strong indicator of a worn-out brake pad. Even if there’s no sound, it’s best to check your pads and ensure they’ll provide reliable braking in tricky conditions.
- Antifreeze: This is a type of liquid typically mixed with water that helps cool the engine when the vehicle is running. The liquid prevents water from freezing even in extremely cold temperatures, allowing the car to run without a hassle. If you’ve used up the mixture, the mechanic will follow the simple flush and fill method to top it up.
Repair Your Garage Windows
The best option is to park your vehicle in the garage for the whole winter. Not only will it protect it from snow, rain, or hail, but, it’ll save you the hassle of cleaning the car each time before use. But, your garage needs to be well insulated or else cold temperatures can still damage important car components.
For instance, if your garage windows are old and letting cold air in, look for professionals to undertake garage windows repair near you. The cost will depend on the type and size of windows required. But, before hiring, take the time to review their licenses, and read reviews from past customers.
In the event you need to park outside, take the following steps:
- Buy a car cover that properly fits your vehicle to protect it from the elements.
- Wax the car to protect it from corrosion due to the collection of snow/rain on and around the vehicle.
- If you have to park the car uncovered, at least purchase a windscreen shield and always keep the wipers upright to protect them from damage.
Cold weather can be particularly harsh on our vehicles, hence it is important to take steps to protect them both in and out of the home by installing winter tires, repairing garage windows, and making a visit to the repair show to get all important components checked.