Keep your vehicle in top condition by making these seasonal changes.
Winter weather can be harsh on vehicles, so it’s important to prepare your car for the colder months. Here are five changes you can make to help your car run safely and smoothly all winter long:
Cold weather can thicken oil, making it more difficult to circulate and reducing its effectiveness. Use a lower-weight oil during the winter. Most manufacturers recommend multi-viscosity or 5W-30 oil. Your owner’s manual or your auto mechanic can help you determine which type is best for your vehicle, based on your region’s climate.
If you live in an area that commonly sees snow, sleet and ice, consider swapping out your regular tires for snow tires before winter. At the very least inspect your tires to make sure they are in good condition. Check for uneven wear, and be sure they have a tread depth of at least 4/32 of an inch for sufficient traction.
Winter snow, salt and grime can make a mess on your windshield. And you can’t avoid what you can’t see! Get ahead of the game by installing new winter-grade wiper blades at the beginning of the season. It’s also a good idea to replace your wiper fluid. Opt for a wash with a lower freezing temperature.
Fill your antifreeze to the maximum level. It helps prevent your engine from overheating, and keeps the radiator from corroding. Most models require you to mix a 50/50 solution of antifreeze and distilled water. Check your owner’s manual to determine the right combination for your vehicle and also how often to check the coolant/antifreeze level.
Low temperatures can affect the way your battery’s chemicals react to generate electricity, making your car difficult to start. Cold also can impair your battery cables’ conductivity. Inspect your battery and cables for deficiencies, and replace them as needed. If you haven’t replaced your battery in four years, you may want to invest in a new one before winter arrives.
One final reminder: Remember to turn on your air conditioner once a month during the winter to prevent the seals from cracking and drying.