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Maintenance Checklist To Get Your Car Ready For Winter

Car tyre covered in snow

Maintenance Checklist To Get Your Car Ready For Winter

Car maintenance should always be an all-year-round thing, but it becomes doubly important when the weather becomes colder.

Winter will always be tough on cars, and that’s why it’s par for the course for people who live in cold-weather states to get their vehicles ready for the chillier months. They can opt to do it the DIY way, or they can bring their car in for a tune-up, and maybe even have car audio installation done at the same time.

Failure to prepare the car for the onset of winter is not an option, because the cold weather will surely do a number on your car, and compromise your safety, too.

Here are some maintenance tips that will keep your car in good shape and able to handle everything the winter throws its way.

Check Your Battery

Your battery takes a lot of punishment whenever winter comes around. It loses about 60 percent of its strength when the temperature drops to near zero, among other things.

Check car battery

Since you don’t want it dying on you while driving on a snow-covered road in the middle of nowhere, it’s always best to bring your battery to an auto shop to have it load-tested, and the electrolyte checked. However, if you’ve had that battery for more than four years, it’s probably time to get a replacement.

It would be best if you also kept the battery terminals and cables clean to keep corrosion away. You can do this using a battery terminal protectant spray.

Get A Fresh Oil Change

As the weather turns colder, the oil in your car does tend to thicken, which will affect its ability to keep your engine well-lubricated.

Person changing oil

Consider changing your oil to one with the right viscosity for your vehicle during the colder months. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine which oil would be best for your car when winter comes around.

Inspect Belts And Hoses

The belts and hoses under the hood of your vehicle need to be examined, as they suffer wear and tear over time. If they look frayed, better replace them before temperatures drop, as cold weather can make their condition worse, and you don’t want them giving out in the middle of winter.

Check your car's belts and hoses

Replace Your Windshield Wiper Blades

Windshield wiper blades play a crucial role in ensuring visibility while driving in winter. If you’ve been using them for a year or so, consider replacing them before the winter arrives. You would want fresh wiper blades once the snow starts falling.

As for your windshield washer reservoir, fill it windshield washer fluid instead of water so it won’t freeze.

Examine Your Tires

Winter brings about treacherous roadway conditions, and you need tires with optimal traction to negotiate them safely.

Check your tires and see if the treads have sufficient depth. In the United States, a popular way of checking tire tread depth would be to place a penny between your tire’s tread ribs. If the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head disappears, you have sufficient tire tread depth. If you can see his whole head, it’s probably time to find replacement tires.

Person checking car tyre pressure

You will also need to check your tires’ air pressure. As the weather gets colder, the air pressure in your tires will likely drop, too. You’ll want your tires properly inflated to ensure the best possible traction, so find out their ideal tire pressure by referring to your owner’s manual.

You might also want to consider getting winter tires for superior traction, especially if you live in an area that gets more than its fair share of snow.

Winterize Your Car’s Exterior

The exterior of your car directly gets the brunt of what winter brings, such as snow, sleet, grime, and the road salt used to control snow and ice. To give your car extra protection, consider adding a coat of polymer wax, which will serve as a protective barrier against the elements mentioned above.

By giving your car special attention before the chilly months arrive, you will ensure not only your safety but those sharing the roads with you as well.

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About The Author
Lauren Bricks is the Content Specialist for Streetfighter Motorsports LLC, a family-operated car audio and accessory installation, sales and customization facility located in Phoenix, Arizona. She loves cars and although she spends much of her week writing about them, she still finds the time to hop onto the second-hand Corvette convertible her dad gave her for her 25th birthday and drive to the countryside with the top down.
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