It is that time a year again when the days get shorter and the nights start getting colder. Winter is almost upon us and for some may have already arrived. While we enter this cold breezy time of year there is one thing that every automobile driver should take into consideration. Is your car ready for winter?
I would like to walk you through a couple of things to help you keep your car running at is maximum when you may need it the most. Winterizing your car is something most people are in to much of a hurry to do but yet when you head to work at seven in the morning and it’s 15 degrees outside you find out the hard way your car has suffered frost bite. There are some main categories that one should look at before the harsh cold sets in.
The first main item to look at on your car is the coolant. These days there are so many different types that in order to be sure which type you need always consult your Owner’s Manual. What you want to look for in your coolant is when was your last service and if it has been at least two years ago you may want to flush your coolant system or have it professionally flushed by a certified garage. Coolant is essential because it cools your car’s engine while at the same time providing heat for the inside of your car. You want to keep at least a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water and in some severe cases maybe a 60 percent mixture of coolant to 40 percent water. Keeping your coolant system maintain and working properly is vital to the operation of any vehicle and if you let it go for long periods believe me it will let you know. Flushing is generally recommended merely to clean build up from the inside of your radiator and heater core. Your heater core acts as a small radiator inside the car generating heat and defrost when you need it.
The next major component you want to inspect is your charging system. This includes your battery, starter, and alternator. I know some are saying to themselves “starter! that’s not part of the charging system.” But a weak starter will cause a battery to wear down quicker in cold weather. So, you want to have your battery checked for proper voltage and amperage and make sure it has a good life cycle left on it. Inspect the top or side terminals for corrosion because this will drain a battery quick. If you find corrosion on the battery terminals you can go to a parts house and purchase a cleaning kit which will come with anti-corrosive additive or again go to your certified garage and have this completed. Next you want to maybe stop by a garage when you have a chance and have them check your charging system to make sure everything is working properly. A quick check will tell you if your alternator or starter is weak a could pose a threat in colder temperatures.
The next few items are fairly simple but can pay off big time. In cold weather mainly around 25 to 15 degrees regular washer fluid is almost useless unless your car is warmed up and cleared of pretty well. I use a deicing washer fluid through the winter months because it helps clean frost of of the front windshield and will not freeze up in your washer reservoir causing cracking or breaking of the plastic. Another little thing I do is at night I lay a piece of card board under my wiper to keep them from freezing to the windshield and keeping the rubber wiper in good shape. One thing you never want to do is to pour warm water on a frozen or iced windshield, the laws of physics will work and your glass will crack.
One last thing for prepping your car for winter would be your fuel system. If you run a low grade fuel through the year and your good at burning out the low fuel light than you may want to consider changing your fuel filter. If you run alot of additives through your tank through the year these can cause a restrictive build up inside your filter and restrict fuel flow to your motor. Through the winter months it would not hurt to put a bottle of water dryer in your tank when you fill up. This helps to keeps water from settling and freezing inside your fuel tank.
Well these are just a few pre-winter tips I hope will help you keep your car up and running smooth through old man winter’s attack. Remember it’s always a good idea to keep a blanket and flashlight with you in case you happen to break down and have to wait for help, I wish everyone a happy and safe drive where ever you go this winter.