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8 Simple Winter Car Care Tips

driving-in-winter

How can you make sure your car is well cared for during the difficult winter months? We’ve listed eight simple car care tips that can go a long way toward making sure your car stays in great shape all winter long.

1) Lighting

One major hazard with winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in the day, which means there’s less daylight, especially on your commute home. As a result, you’ll want to do everything you possibly can to make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are in excellent shape, providing the brightest possible illumination they can.

2) Battery

It’s often more difficult for a battery to operate in cold weather than it is for a battery to operate in warm weather. As a result, a battery that’s merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter. Our advice is to have a volt test performed on your battery.

3) Coolant

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is tremendously important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out.

4) Gasoline and Washer Fluid

You should try to keep your gas tank full for several reasons, like the fact that a full tank may prevent accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump and can help you stay warm by allowing the engine to stay running in case you get stuck. Meanwhile, a full windshield-washer reservoir is tremendously important, as messy road debris from a snowstorm can sometimes necessitate constant window washing to see where you’re going.

5) Tires

“All-wheel drive is confidence-inspiring when you’re accelerating, but it doesn’t help you when you’re braking and turning,” says Woody Rogers, director of product information for Tire Rack. “Winter tires are a must in areas where the temperature regularly drops below 45 degrees,” Rogers adds, noting that winter tires are more capable of staying flexible at low temperatures. This means that they can provide improved traction when you’re trying to stop and turn on cold pavement, even if there’s no snow on the ground.

6) Tire Pressure

It’s incredibly important to keep track of your tire pressure as temperatures get colder. This is because tire pressure can drop along with the air temperature, losing up to one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in air temperature. Driving around with low tire pressure could mean premature tire wear or potential tread separation, which could lead to a major accident.

7) Defroster and Climate Control

Be sure to check your car’s window defroster and its climate control system to make sure both items are still working properly. Their purpose is obvious: The climate control system will help keep you warm in the winter (and can help keep your windows from fogging up), while the defroster will keep your windows from icing up.

8) Survival Kit

Although this isn’t a car care tip as much as a winter preparedness tip, we suggest considering a survival kit for your vehicle if you want to really maximize your vehicle’s readiness for winter. Select one that’s stocked with a blanket, a first-aid kit, a knife, a flashlight, jumper cables and a cellphone charger that works in your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

Information from Autotrader.com by Doug DeMuro.