winterize your vehicle

Time to Winterize Your Vehicle for the Upcoming Colder Months

Preparing your car for winter means getting your car winterized for the colder temperatures, snow, ice, slush, and rain. Prepping your car, inside and out, for winter weather is the best way to make sure your travels are safe and stress-free. Whether you have done this before or never have, let’s go over some of the best tips to help winterize Your vehicle.

1. Inspect Your Tires

It doesn’t matter if you have a brand-new 2022 vehicle or a worn-out Honda Accord, there’s one thing that connects a car to the road: tires. This should be one of the first steps when you winterize your vehicle as the colder months approach.

Make sure you have plenty of tread on your tires. That is the lifeblood of the car that will give you traction on the road. If your tread is worn down, you will not have peak performance, your stopping distance will be longer on slippery roads, ice, and snow. Also, resistance to hydroplaning will be greatly reduced as well.

To figure out if you have enough tread on your tires, you’ll want to take a penny and place it into one of the grooves between the treads. Lincoln’s head should be facing you and his head should be upside down. If a portion of Lincoln’s head is not visible, your tire is ok.

For more information on this topic check out When is it Time to Change My Tires?

2. Fix Tire Pressure

If you have a deflated tire, it can easily result in a blowout if you hit a pothole, which can leave you cold and stranded for hours. Worse, it can contribute to the cause of an accident.

Make sure to frequently check the air pressure for each of your tires. Each 10-degree drop in temperature outside can mean a one-pound loss in your air pressure. You will find your recommended tire pressure either on your car’s door jab or trunk lid. The best time to check your tire pressure is when it has been sitting for 30 minutes or more.

3. Test the Battery

Engines are more difficult to start in colder weather. Did you notice any problems with your battery in the past summer, or maybe once or twice needed a jump start? Make sure to get your battery checked. Remember, batteries really don’t like cold weather.

Chemical reactions in the battery make electricity slow down as the temperature drops, making it more difficult to hit the max power. The ideal outside temperature for maximum battery performance is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

For information on this topic check out Time for a Replacement Battery? Here’s How to Tell.

4. Change the Oil

Having lighter weight oil is just as important to starting your engine in cold weather as a strong battery is. Cold weather will thicken the engine oil, which makes it more difficult for parts to turn and the engine to start, putting a strain on the battery and starter.

That’s why a strong battery is necessary- more juice than usual is needed in the colder months to get the engine started. Check your owner’s manual to determine the proper engine oil weight. The basic rule to remember is thinner oil for cold months and thicker in hot months.

5. Add Proper Coolant

Coolant, sometimes called antifreeze, is a liquid that absorbs the engine heat and dissipates that energy through the radiator. Its job is to cool the engine in the winter and summer, preventing it from overheating and extensive, expensive damage to your engine. The coolant is also formulated to resist freezing, which is extremely important when you winterize your vehicle. 

If there isn’t enough coolant in the system serious damage could happen to your engine. Make sure to frequently check the amount of coolant in the radiator’s reservoir tank. The reservoir tank I s a small plastic, clear container located near the radiator. You’ll notice a line on the side of the tank showing the proper level.

6. Check Belts and Hoses

The wires and belts should be checked for cracks and wear, hoses for leaks, and cables for lubrication. Cold temperatures will weaken these parts- hoses can become brittle and fail.

7. Choose AWD or 4WD

Both of these systems will offer you snow traction. Check your owner’s manual to see if or when maintenance is required. It’s also smart to check the manual to determine how to activate the 4-wheel drive system and if it has manual controls or not.

Some AWD and 4WD systems offer a locking differential that equalizes power to the wheels on the same axle. The advantage is you get better traction in the snow when the differential is locked.

8. Monitor Brakes

With snow, slush, ice, and water on the highway, your car’s brakes need to be operating in top condition. Do you hear any metal-against-metal noise when you’re using the brakes? Is your car pulling left or right when you use the brakes? Is your brake pedal pulsating under normal driving when your using the brakes?

If you answered yes to any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked out! Don’t wait.

9. Change Your Wiper Blades

Snow, slush, and salt can build up on the windshield, which can blind you if the wiper blades are worn out. Make sure to replace the wipers if they look dry and brittle or leave any steaks of liquid on the windshield.

10. Fill Your Fluids

Have you ever experienced driving alongside a semi or snowplow and the deluge from the tires hitting the sloshy pavement has blinded your view?

Well, make sure the windshield fluid tank is full. Also, choose a liquid that will not freeze when the temperatures hit zero. It’s smart to carry a gallon of windshield fluid so you can quickly refill when needed.

When it’s time to winterize your vehicle, we hope you use this list to help prepare for the worst and hope for the best! These tips will ensure your winter driving is a bit less stressful.

If you’re in the market for some new-to-you tires that will help you get through the winter, or a used transmission or any used car parts contact our team today!