Winterizing Your Car – Be Road Ready for the Cold
Fall is beautiful but brief. Winter is just around the corner and now is the perfect time for winterizing your car. Make sure it is ready for the colder temperatures and weather conditions winter brings.
If you take the time to make sure everything is in good working order before the cold weather arrives, you may be able to prevent being stranded on the side of the road. Or, if you do experience car trouble, at least you’ll be prepared.
Check Your Battery
Heading into winter with a weak or old battery just isn’t a good idea. Cold weather slows down the chemical reactions necessary to start your car, making your battery work that much harder.
This can lead to a car that won’t start on cold mornings or one that leaves you stranded in the parking lot after a long day at the office.
Making sure your battery is in good condition is an important part of winterizing your car. It will help keep your car running smoothly during the cold winter months and help keep you safe . A mechanic can test your car battery to see if it needs to be replaced.
Use the Correct Oil
Here in New Jersey, we don’t often experience extreme, below zero temperatures. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be aware, it can happen. Temperatures below freezing can cause your car’s engine oil to thicken. So if you’re traveling to a colder climate or sending your son or daughter off to college where the temperature commonly dips below zero, you may want to switch to a lighter weight oil.
For example, if your car typically takes 10W-30 oil, you may want to switch to 5W-30 for the winter. Consult your owner’s manual or your mechanic to determine which oil is right for your car during extreme winter weather.
Wiper Fluid and Wiper Blades
No matter what the season, your windshield should always be clean and your vision unobstructed. The combination of the winter weather with the snow and ice along with road salt residue make keeping your windshield clean a challenge.
Make sure your windshield wiper blades are in good condition. If they’re not, change them. It is an inexpensive fix that could save a lot more than money in the long run. Also, be sure to keep your windshield washer fluid full with a brand that won’t freeze when the temperature drops. This will allow you to easily keep your windshield clear of winter debris.
Another fluid vital to winterizing your car is the coolant/antifreeze. The coolant system in your car not only keeps the engine from overheating, it protects against corrosion as well. Be sure the coolant/antifreeze contains ethylene glycol so it will provide the necessary protection.
In normal temperatures, most cars require a 50/50 mix of water and coolant/antifreeze and in the winter the mix should be 60% coolant/antifreeze and 40% water. Requirements for this can vary from car to car and some even need a specific type of coolant/antifreeze. Consult your owner’s manual or mechanic as having the proper ratio is important.
Tire Tread and Air Pressure
As the saying goes, this is where the rubber meets the road. When it comes to winter weather, the road could be coated with water, ice, snow or a combination of all of these. All-season tires are a great option for drivers who live in moderate climates and do not encounter extreme winter weather. Snow tires are strongly recommended if you are in an area that does experience severe winter weather.
Whether you use all-season tires or snow tires, make sure that they are in good condition before winter arrives. Traction is crucial on the snow and ice. Check the tread for wear. There is an easy trick for this. Insert a penny into the groove of your tire’s tread Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If all of Lincoln’s head remains visible, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.
Also, make sure the tires are properly inflated. The cold weather can cause tires to lose air pressure, so check them periodically throughout the season.
Winterizing Your Car Includes an Emergency Kit
Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into winterizing your car, performance failures or accidents happen. Keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your car will make this a bit more tolerable. Here is a suggested checklist of items to include in your emergency kit. Go ahead and add any other items you think you might need.
- Boots and gloves
- Extra set of clothes
- Food and water
- Ice scraper
- Small shovel
- Spare Tire and Jack
- Additional Oil, Windshield Washer Fluid, Coolant/Antifreeze
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit
- First aid kit
Face it, some of us are just not comfortable under the hood of our car. If you’re not confident checking fluid levels, tire pressure,etc, Holiday Service Center can take care of it for you. As a four-generation family owned business, we take pride in our exceptional service.
We have been Toms River’s trusted auto service & repair shop for over 30 years and offer a wide range of automotive services including air conditioning system maintenance and repair.
We focus on building a relationship with the customer to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Contact us for all your automotive maintenance and repair needs.