Every year drivers have to winterize and prepare themselves and their vehicles for the cold weather. It is important to know how to winterize your car when the temperature drops. It is also important to know what car parts can fail more easily in the winter. Here are some winter car preparations and tips from My Auto Store for winterizing your car when that chilly weather comes your way!
To winterize your car, first, you need to check your tires. This is a maintenance check that should be done year-round but it is crucial to make sure you check the tire pressure and condition in the winter. Make sure the tread is good because the wet, icy, or slippery conditions are when quality tires are most important. Tire pressure can drop in lowered temperatures, so make sure you fill them with air if they begin to get low.
Brakes & Lights
Before you winterize your car, you should check your brake system, brake lights, turn signal lights, and headlights. According to one source, winter weather conditions cause over 200,000 crashes per year. Your brake system needs to be in good condition, especially in the winter. The quality of your brake pads and rotors will be the difference between a horrible accident and stopping at a safe distance. Your brake lights, turn signals, and headlights are so important because they warn or alert other drivers to your existence! The brake lights and turn signals let others know you are stopping or turning. While headlights help others see you, at the same time they let you see other drivers better as well.
Wipers & Fluids
Windshield wipers are also essential to your winter car checklist! They should completely clear the area they are wiping, if they just spread dirt and snow around, you should try cleaning them. If cleaning them does not work you need to replace them, if you know they need to be replaced, do it as soon as possible. Double-checking the wiper fluid is smart, so you can clear any dirt, grime, or salt off the windshield.
You should always check your antifreeze levels in the radiator, engine coolant, and engine oil when you winterize your car. If the antifreeze levels are off, you could have a problem with your engine coolant. It won’t hurt to top off the radiator with the anti-freeze your car is meant to use. As for the oil, if you don’t use the right kind of engine oil, your car may not start in the winter. Even worse, it could destroy your motor.
The cold can begin to thicken the oil, so it is important to make sure you use the correct oil for your year, make, and model. If you find your motor damaged from the wrong oil, here at my My Auto Store we sell quality used engines online. You can browse our inventory of used transmissions and engines online now!
When it comes to fuel, always keep your tank relatively full; the winter is not the time to play with the gas light. When you see your fuel getting down to a third of a tank, you should think about refueling soon. This way your vehicle starts with no issues, if it gets too low you may find your car unable to start.
Winterize Your Car Battery
You should test the battery to make sure it has a good charge because people drive less frequently during the winter. Letting a car sit for long amounts of time can cause a battery to lose its charge, so even if you let it sit in the summer or fall you should still check it before you drive around. Another thing that happens in the winter is that the temperatures drop; this causes chemicals in the car batteries to slow down. This drop in temperature makes it difficult for car batteries to hold as much charge.
Overall, it is easier to just replace it altogether, instead of having to charge it constantly. This way you don’t have to worry about your vehicle not starting in the middle of the winter. Your best bet is to keep a pair of jumper cables in your trunk; you never know how well those come in handy until you are sitting in a Walmart parking lot in 20 degree weather with a dead battery.
Alternator & Starter Motor
As for car parts breaking from the cold, alternators, and starter motors are at risk during the winter. The alternator is what charges the battery in your car, if your battery keeps dying, even after getting a new one; you probably need a new alternator. The cold weather does a number on this car part because it has to work harder to get started. You may even hear a squeal from the serpentine belt; if it goes away after the car gets warmed it could have just needed to heat up.
The cold will make the belt more rigid, and the heat from the movement will slowly soften it, causing the noise to stop. It is always good to get that noise checked though, just in case the belt is slipping. Sometimes the cold is what pushes the alternator over the edge and breaks it completely. If you need your car alternator replaced, then Contact My Auto Store to purchase a quality OEM car part. One of our team members will find the part you need to match your exact make and model!
The starter motor could be an issue if you try to turn your car on and it makes a clicking noise. Oil thickens in lower temperatures, this means it does not flow as easily as it usually would. So, when you go to start the car in the morning, the starter motor has to turn over a very cold engine with thick oil. This is why people who live in colder regions tend to use synthetic oils because they do not condense in the cold as easily. If you feel like this part is going bad in your vehicle, you should just replace the starter motor when you winterize your car.
It’s Time to Winterize Your Car
Ultimately, there is a lot that actually goes into preparing your daily driver for the winter. If you don’t take precautions, you could find yourself stuck or paying a lot of money for avoidable repairs. If you find yourself in need of other used parts don’t hesitate to call My Auto Store, we offer free shipping on online orders. We have used auto parts ranging from interior car parts to headlight assemblies. Make sure your entire car is up to code this winter. Take the time to go over these different car parts and check the fluids before it gets cold so you don’t have to waste time while it’s cold figuring out what went wrong.