6 Simple Winter Car Care Tips to Keep Your Car Running Safely

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Winter climates can be strenuous on any vehicle, even newer models, making it crucial for owners to prepare them for the cold season ahead. In addition to regular vehicle maintenance, there are a few steps you should take before winter to make sure your vehicle is safe and ready for the road.

Essential Winter Car Care Tips

The following basic tips from Car-N-Credit can save you a lot of headaches in the winter when your vehicle’s components get a lot of strain from weather and cold air:

  1. Check Your Battery

Winter cold and summer heat put a lot of wear and tear on your battery, so it’s not uncommon for older batteries to not work their best during these seasons. Use an at-home battery tester or bring your car to a nearby auto parts store. Many of them will test your battery for free to indicate whether you might need to buy a new one to prepare for winter.

  1. Check Fluids

Next, pop the hood and look at your fluid levels. Make sure your windshield wiper fluid is topped off, and consider using a de-icing solution for the winter. Also, check your oil, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. 

Your car manual might explain how to check these fluids. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, bring your car to your dealership or mechanic for a winter check-up.

  1. Look Underneath

The underbody of your vehicle houses several components that protect your car’s elements. Depending on your make and model, you might have several plastic covers for filters, pipes, and more. These covers are there to keep parts from getting corroded, save on fuel costs, improve aerodynamics, and more.

The winter can wreak havoc on the underbody, though. With mud, snow, and ice in the road, it’s easy for your tires to kick up blocks of slush. If any pieces are already loose, they could catch on obstructions in the road, pulling them off completely.

Do a quick check regularly when the ground is dry to make sure everything is in place. If you notice anything loose or missing, correct the problem quickly to avoid larger problems later.

  1. Check Your Tire Pressure and Treads

Tired tend to lose pressure when they’re in frigid cold temperatures, so a quick check before you leave for the day is crucial. If you have a tire pressure sensor in your vehicle, let your car run for a few minutes before checking it. Keep a portable tire inflator in your trunk for quick fill-ups in the morning.

Check your treads before the winter season hits. It’s more important than ever in the winter to have good treads for navigating slippery road conditions. The penny test is one of the best and easiest methods to make sure your treads are safe.

Consider switching to snow tires if you live in an area prone to lots of snow and ice. The good news is that you can probably get at least three or four winters out of your snow tires, so you won’t need to worry about the additional cost each year.

  1. Make Sure Your Heating Elements Work

A few problems could be at the core of your car not pumping out heat as it should, and the dead of winter is the worst time to find out that there’s an issue. Heating problems typically stem from either the thermostat, the radiator, or the heating core. 

Before winter arrives, turn on your car and let it run for a few minutes to check your heat. Make sure it’s not only warming the inside of your vehicle but also the windshield. Check that all vents have heat coming from them. It’s best to get any problems fixed as soon as possible, so your heater is ready when you need it.

  1. Replace Your Wipers

Windshield wipers usually need at least once-annual replacements. The start of winter is a good reminder to swap them out for a fresh set that’s ready for wintery weather. Consider spending a little more to get a set with thick, durable blades that withstand winter damage.

With that said, you can prolong the life of your wipers by avoiding using them on icy windshields. Instead, use a scraper or a defrosting spray to get ice chunks off your windshield. To keep your wipers from sticking to the windshield overnight, leave them propped up when you’re not using your car.

When you take care of your car, it takes care of you. Following these and other routine vehicle maintenance tips can help your vehicle last throughout multiple seasons.

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