Cold weather presents lots of challenges for car drivers. This includes:
Here are some cold weather car maintenance tips to help you deal with these challenges:
Check Your Vehicle Lights
During the colder months of the year, there is less light, especially on your way home from work. So, it is important to make sure that your lights are in perfect working order. Be sure to check all your bulbs and replace any that are out. Also, make certain that no snow or ice is obstructing your lights. Finally, if your headlights have become foggy or yellowish, you should either restore or replace them.
Test Your Battery
Cold weather affects your battery more than warm weather does. This means that a battery that is low in voltage that functions in warm weather may die when it gets cold. So, you should volt test your battery to make sure that you do not suffer a nasty surprise. Furthermore, if you discover that your battery is not in proper working order, you should strongly consider buying a new one.
Make Sure That You Have Proper and Sufficient Coolant
Coolant is what prevents your vehicle’s engine from freezing in cold weather. So, you need to be sure that your vehicle has a sufficient level of it. You also should check for leaks in your engine, which could let coolant escape. If you need to refill your coolant, use a mixture of 50% coolant and 50% water. This will provide your engine with a lower freezing point than if you use coolant alone.
Keep Your Gas Tank Full
There are two reasons why you should keep your gas tank full in cold weather. First, a full gas tank helps prevent water that has been accumulating in your fuel pump from freezing. Another reason for keeping your fuel tank full is that if you become stuck somewhere, you will be able to keep your engine running longer, which will keep you warm longer.
While filling your tank, make sure that your washer fluid is full as well, with fluid formulated for cold weather. This will allow you to keep your windshield clean during and after storms. You may also want to consider purchasing winter wiper blades, which will not freeze the way conventional ones can.
Put on Winter Tires
Many people believe that having all-wheel drive means that they do not need to use winter tires, but this is not the case. If you live in a place where temperatures often fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you need winter tires in order to properly turn and brake in cold weather. These tires remain flexible even in freezing temperatures, so they can give you extra traction to turn and brake on cold roads, whether there is snow on these roads or not.
Check Your Tire Pressure
When temperatures fall, the air pressure of your tires can fall along with it. In fact, with each 10-degree drop in temperatures, you can lose as much as one pound per square inch of tire pressure. Driving with under-inflated tires can lead to both wear on the tires and even tread separation, which can lead to serious accidents. Your vehicle also will not handle as well with low tire pressure. So, you need to check the pressure of your vehicle’s tires. If one or more of your tires is low, you should fill them at the nearest gas station air pump.
Check Your Climate Control System and Your Defroster
The time to check your vehicle’s climate control system is not when the temperature drops below freezing. You should check it well before that to make sure that it is in proper working condition when you really need it. For the same reason, you want to check your defroster well before ice begins forming on your windows. If either one of these items need repair, do not procrastinate. Not only can a cold car be uncomfortable in freezing weather, in certain instances — such as a breakdown in the middle of nowhere — it could even be life-threatening.
Equip Your Vehicle with a Survival Kit
Even if you live in a city, you never know when you may find yourself stuck in a rural or secluded area in cold and snowy weather. So, equip your car will the following items:
Vehicle Cellphone Charger
In conclusion, by following these cold weather car maintenance tips, you will be prepared for anything winter throws at you. Come in and see our Chevrolet service department for any assistance!