4 Easy Tips to Care for Your Car in the Winter
- Posted on: Feb 6 2013
If you live in an area where it tends to drop to frigid temperatures in the winter, you’re probably experiencing just that right about now. How much do you dread those early mornings heading off to work, leaving your warm and comfortable home to venture out into the cold for your morning commute to the office, only to leave the warmth of your car to once again brave the cold to go into work?
Well, guess what – your car dreads that feeling, too. In fact, mistreating your car during the cold winter months can lead to serious long-term damage and can even contribute to shortening the life of your car. So before you hop in and drive off on those sub-zero mornings, take these 4 tips into consideration to help preserve the life and health of your car.
Check Your Tires Frequently
Your cars tires often get overlooked during the winter. If you change out your tires for the season and replace them with snow tires for better traction, it’s easy to think that they’ll be fine all the time because, well, they are built for winter after all, aren’t they?
Yes, they are, but they still need to be checked frequently. Drops in temperature can significantly impact your tire pressure – in fact, for every 10 degrees the temperature falls, your tires lose about 1 pound of air apiece.
It’s a good idea to check your tires at least once a month during the winter, looking for cracks due to pressure changes or any winter wear and tear from the tough roads out there. Proper tire pressure will not only help improve your fuel economy while you drive, but it will also save some of the suspension parts of your car and can prevent your tires from blowing out completely should you hit a pot hole or anything of the sort.
Keep Extra Stores of Necessary Fluids
Windshield wiper fluid and anti freeze are necessities that you should absolutely keep on hand throughout the winter, even storing extra containers of the fluids somewhere in your car until you need them. That way you have access to it whenever and wherever you need it. Try to keep ice melting windshield wiper fluid handy in the winter to help clear off any light ice or frost from your windshield before you drive.
While running out of wiper fluid could impair your vision while driving on salt and snow-covered roads, putting you in danger, it’s important to also check on the other fluid levels in your car, too. Transmission, brake, power steering and coolant fluids should be checked regularly to ensure proper running of your vehicle.
And don’t forget, should you ever run out of the fluids you need to keep your car running smoothly, just purchase your favorite Hy-Per Lube products from your local auto store or through our website.
Get Regular Washes
Salt and dirt builds up all over your car so easily in the winter that it’s hard to remember what your car even looks like when it’s clean sometimes. Believe it or not, the salt can do more damage to your vehicle than just cosmetic if you don’t take the time to keep your car washed throughout the winter.
Salt used to melt ice on the roads builds up easily on the underside of your car, and if left there, can lead to major underside damage, and eventually even corrosion. The same is true for the paint on the exterior of your car. To keep it bright and looking fresh, take your car to be washed frequently and make sure you get both the whole exterior and the whole underside washed thoroughly.
A good rule of thumb is to take your car in for a wash after any major snow or ice event in the winter. Wait until there’s a day or two of nice weather coming up in the forecast so that your wash doesn’t completely go to waste. After all, there’s no use in taking your vehicle through a car wash in the middle of a snow storm only to return to the same salty roads you just came from!
Go Easy on a Cold Car
This is the one tip that everyone already knows, but not everyone always abides by. Sometimes, you’re just in such a hurry to get out the door and get to work that you just don’t have the time to sit in your freezing cold car for 10 minutes waiting for it to warm up before you go.
Especially true if you park your vehicle outside overnight, you should let your car warm up before you drive it. But you’d be surprised at just how long your vehicle needs to warm up – 20 or 30 seconds should be plenty of time to get the oil circulating up to the cylinder head in your engine, and that’s really all you need to drive safely.
This doesn’t mean, though, that it’s OK to drive off at full speed after just 20 or 30 seconds of warming up the engine – you should take it easy on the gas pedal for the first few minutes of driving, at least until the internal temperature of your car hits a happy point. In fact, driving your car will help warm it up faster than just letting it sit and idle there.
The interior of your car may still be freezing cold after such a short waiting period, but as long as your car is running and you go easy on the gas until it fully heats up, you should be good to go far more quickly than you think.