5 Winter Maintenance Tips Jan 20, 2017 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

No matter where you live, you need to make sure that your car is in good enough shape to last the entire winter. The freezing temperatures can do a number on various vehicle components, whether snow and ice are involved. To ensure that your car makes it through the winter in one piece and keeps you safe, read your vehicle manual, talk to your mechanic, and look at these simple tips.

Make Battery Testing a Priority

Out of all the components in your vehicle that can be damaged by the cold weather, your battery has the highest risks. It is simply more challenging for your battery to function as normal during the cold weather. Because of this, if your battery shows any weakness during warmer weather, it can die during the winter. Take the time to test your battery if you’ve noticed any difficulty retaining a charge or slow response. That way you don’t have to worry if it’ll start on that freezing winter morning.

Pay Attention to Oil

Your engine is also at risk during the cold weather of winter. This isn’t helped by the fact that motor oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, meaning that your engine has to work harder to turn over. You will typically want to use oil during the winter with a “W” in the name, as this indicates that it was designed for winter. Remember to choose an oil that works with your vehicle; check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic if you aren’t sure which one is a good choice.

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Check Your Wiper Blades

The average wiper blades will only last about six months so you should be changing them at least this often. This is particularly important during the winter months when your windshield is covered in snow, and any moisture that accumulates from rain can freeze when the temperature drops. The good news is that you can change your wiper blades very easily. Consider purchasing newer beam blade wipers since these don’t have external springs that can freeze during cold weather.

Consider Flushing Coolant

Despite the signs you see everywhere at the beginning of winter, you don’t necessarily need to flush and completely change your engine coolant. In most cases, it will be up to the challenge of the winter, provided you have followed your recommended service schedule. Even so, take the time to have it checked and refill or change it, if necessary. This is particularly important if you live in a very cold climate.

Think about Winter Tires

At the very least, take the time to check the tread on your tires. You want to have maximum stopping power when there is ice on the road. Depending on where you live, winter maintenance should also involve snow tires, snow chains, or winter tires. All-season tires won’t cut it when there is even a little snow or ice on the roads. Using both summer and winter tires when required will ensure that you have a better driving experience in each season.

Stay safe this winter and keep your car in working condition with these simple tips.

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