Even though temperatures in the US between December 2021 and February 2022 averaged 34.8 degrees Fahrenheit, it can still get pretty cold in some parts of the country. Cold weather can take a toll on everything, including your car.
Winter brings freezing temperatures, icy roads, and salt can all cause damage to your vehicle. That’s why taking extra time to give your car some TLC is essential. Here are some car maintenance tips to help you keep your vehicle running smoothly all winter long.
Check Your Tires
One of the most important things you can do to prepare your car for winter is to check your tires. Tires worn down or damaged are much more likely to skid or lose traction in cold weather. Ensure your tires are checked by a professional to ensure they are in good condition for the winter months.
You should also make sure to keep your tires inflated to the proper level. Cold weather can cause tires to lose some of their air, which can impact your traction and handling. Check your owner’s manual or the placard on your doorjamb to find out what the proper tire pressure should be for your car.
Another critical tip is ensuring you have enough tread on your tires. Tires with less than 4/32 of tread are more likely to slip in winter weather, so replacing them is essential if they are getting close to that point. You can check your tread using a penny – if the top of Lincoln’s head is visible when you insert the penny into the tread, it’s time for new tires.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, you may want to consider investing in winter tires. Winter tires provide better traction and handling in cold weather conditions.
Get a Tune-up
As the temperatures start to drop, it’s essential to make sure your car is ready for winter weather. One of the most important things you can do is get a tune-up. A tune-up will help your vehicle run more efficiently in the cold weather and can help prevent major problems from happening.
If you haven’t had a tune-up in a while, now is the time to get one. A good mechanic can tune up your car and ensure all the systems are working properly. But you should make sure to bring your vehicle to a mechanic experienced in the type of engine your car has.
Diesel engines require a mechanic who understands how to properly tune them and should have the right tools, especially if the engine is experiencing any issues. So, you should bring the car to a reputable diesel repair shop to fix any problems the engine is experiencing. Dealing with the issue early allows you to avoid bigger issues in the future.
Keep It Clean
Keeping your car clean during winter is crucial since the cold weather can cause a lot of buildup on the vehicle. This can include snow, ice, salt, and mud, all of which can damage your car if left uncleaned.
Make sure to clear off all the snow and ice from your car before driving, and try to avoid driving through puddles or parking in areas that are likely to get muddy. If you get your vehicle dirty during winter, clean it as soon as possible using good car wash soap and a brush.
In addition to keeping the outside of your car clean, it’s also essential to keep the inside clean. This means vacuuming and dusting regularly and cleaning up any spills as soon as they happen.
Inspect your brakes
The importance of inspecting your brakes cannot be overemphasized, especially during winter. As the temperature drops, the brake fluid can become thick, which can impact braking performance. In addition, cold weather can cause metal parts to contract, leading to brake malfunctions. By inspecting your brakes regularly and keeping them in good condition, you can help ensure safe driving during winter weather. Here are a few tips on how to inspect your brakes:
- Check the brake pads for wear and tear. If they’re worn down, you’ll need to replace them.
- Look at the brake fluid level. If it’s low, you’ll need to add more fluid.
- Test the brakes by applying pressure. They should feel firm and responsive.
If you find that your brakes need attention, don’t wait – take them to a mechanic right away. A broken brake line can be hazardous, especially in bad weather conditions.
Preparing your car for winter doesn’t have to be a hassle. By taking extra time to care for your vehicle, you can avoid costly repairs and ensure that your car runs smoothly all season long. Use these tips to help you keep your car in tip-top shape this winter.