[UPDATED] How to Take care of your Car During Winter?
When it comes to taking care of your vehicle, every season demands a different type of car. Whether it is the scorching heat or the thundering rainfall, your vehicle needs your attention and maintenance to make it through. In this article, we will be talking about how to take care of your car during winters.
With the plummeting temperature comes the rise in breakdown and issues that leave you stranded in the middle of the road. And nobody likes that!
To make sure the incoming snow or the foggy afternoon cannot hamper your drive and car, have a look at these winter car care tips that ensure a smooth and pleasant drive. Here, we aim to answer all your questions regarding how to take care of your car during winter.
Let’s get started!
We know that battery makes up an integral part of your vehicle. Without a well-functioning battery, our car may not even start, let alone function efficiently. As the cold begins to settle, the battery is under greater strain than ever due to increased use of blower, heater, and fog lights. The cold temperature also reduces the output of the battery. We get a lot of questions on how to take care of car batteries in winter. Let’s get on to it without any delay.
The first step to winter car battery maintenance would be to pay attention to the battery and regularly charge it to ensure you’re not stranded in a cold gloomy night with a dead battery. Moreover, the wet cold weather takes a toll on the electrics of your vehicle, which gives you another reason to keep an eye on the battery.
At 0° F, a battery has only about half the cranking power it has at 80° F. This means as the temperature drops, so will the performance of your battery. If you notice any trouble starting the car or have any doubts regarding the condition of your battery, it is recommended to get it professionally checked. You can also take a look at your car manual and have a look at the battery yourself. If it is older than 5 years, it is better to let an experienced mechanic have a look.
Now that we are done with car battery care in winter, let’s take a look at some car liquids and their maintenance.
2. Engine Coolant + Antifreeze
When it comes to winter maintenance tips, it is essential to notice every single liquid and keep it safe from freezing over. In case your radiator does not have the correct mixture of antifreeze and water, it could freeze and cause a build-up, which could lead to a leak or a failed transmission.
It is recommended to keep the engine coolant at a ratio of 50:50 mix of water and antifreeze. However, many people top up the fluid with water during the year, which makes it susceptible to freezing during the winters. Make sure you’re using a correct mixture as the freezing can lead to overheating of the engine.
If you live in an extremely cold area, you can call for a 60/40 ratio or 70/30 ratio. However, make sure you do not use a higher antifreeze to water ratio than the one mentioned. If you’re not sure, it is better to allow your local car garage to take care of it.
If you’re looking for the best engine oil for winters, check out our guide on how to choose the best motor oil.
Taking our winter car tips and tricks forwards, we are addressing the tyres next.
| Also Read: Rainy Season Car Care: 10 Tips for Driving in the Rain |
Whether it is winters, summers, or rains, taking care of your tyres is extremely important for your and others safety. Since it is the contact between the road and steering, it is essential to ensure that it is in the best condition. From the pressure to the tread, you should take a regular look at the tyres. Skidding in the snow is not the best way to know your tyres need a replacement.
One of the wisest winter car care advice is to have a minimum 3mm depth during the cold weather as opposed to the minimum of 1.6mm otherwise. You can also consult your service centre and change the tyres from summer to winters, as they perform better in the slippery snow.
Another easy tip to check your car tread is to place a 20p coin in a ridge between the tread. If you can see the outer ring of the coin from a level angle, your tread is too worn out.
4. Windscreen & Wipers
When it comes to winters, there is the danger of lack of visibility. To keep the windshield clean and away from snow and dirt, it is important to have a wiper that functions efficiently.
When the cold season sets in, make sure you take a thorough look at the wiper blades and the windshield. Run your fingers to check for any cracks or nicks, as they can expand when frozen, and lead to more damage. Once you’re sure the wipers are in perfect condition, it’s time to take a look at the screen washer fluid.
Further, if you’re looking how to stop screen wash freezing, here’s how you can do it.
Either opt for double or triple concentrated screen wash to ensure it doesn’t freeze at lower temperatures. Furthermore, you should always take a look at the bottle to know it’s freezing point and then decide which one would work best for your car and the climatic conditions in which you live. Make sure you never use anti-freeze along with the screen wash as it can seriously damage your wiper blades.
The windshield washer fluid is very important to keep the visibility as good as possible with the foggy and cold temperature. To keep your windshield more protected, you can also invest in a windscreen cover that will free you from scraping the snow from your car every morning.
When it comes to driving at night in winters, your visibility is dependent upon the effectiveness of your car lights. Before the winter approaches, make sure you check all the lights and bulbs for cracks and fuse. Don’t forget the full-beam headlights, fog lights, and the indicators.
Additionally, you should also check whether the lenses are clean to have maximum visibility at night so that you can see the car approaching, and also the cars can see you approaching.
Your brake gives many signs before breaking down completely. If you notice any strange noise like rattles or squeaks, or any vibration or a noticeable increase in breaking time, it is time to get it checked. To keep yourself safe on the road, it is better to get the brake inspected for any fault rather than wait it out.
Many people are concerned about the brake fluid, and we get a lot of questions asking can brake fluid freeze in cold weather? The short answer is No. Simply because your brake fluid is an oil, and hence cannot freeze solid like water. It can, however, become so thick that it no longer becomes effective at transferring force from the master cylinder to the wheels. To fight this, you can use brake fluid additives that reduce the limit to -45F and lower.
7. Run your Engine
It is recommended to run your engine for a few minutes before you start driving. If you start driving with a cold engine, it could lead to serious damage. Make sure you pull your car out of your garage before doing this, safety first.
If you’re wondering how to start your car is cold weather, let me explain that to you as well.
Firstly, switch off any accessories like the heater, radio, lights etc. Once you are sure everything is shut, crank up the engine by turning the keys in the ignition and hold for 10 seconds. Make sure you’re not keeping it for more than 10 seconds as it can seriously overheat and hamper the process. This should start the car, but if it doesn’t, wait for a minute before trying it again.
8. Winter Car Breakdown Kit
In the worst situation, if you’re stranded somewhere in a cold area, you must have a breakdown kit that can help you through the tough time. The kit should have a shovel, torch, blanket, hi-visibility vest, screenwash, food and drink supplies, scraper and de-icer, and snow grips for your shoes.
If you’re looking for a ‘preparing your car for winter’ checklist, here’s a brief one for you.
Winter Car Care Checklist:
|Wiper Fluid Check|
|Tyre Inspection & Pressure|
This brings us to the end of our blog on how to take care of your car during winters. Hope this was helpful and you’re all set to get your car winter ready. For more such articles, keep watching this space!