The winter season has started and that calls for extra care for your ride. Just look at you layer up yourself in thermals so that you don’t catch cold; in the same way, your car also needs that much of care. Many of you think that maintaining your car in the winter could be very tiring. Yes! That’s true, but only when you ignore to prepare your car for winter and surely, you will not like to get down, fixing your car in a freezing weather.
As the winter starts, it is better to prepare on prior and not on letting this weather get hard on your car or else, it can be a dreadful experience for you. We would suggest you go for a service check-up of your vehicle, but if you think there is still some time for it, why not try these simple steps on how to get your car ready for winter.
Oil and Oil Filter Change
The most important step for any car’s check-up is the inspection of oil and oil filter. First, check the service record manual to ensure whether you are through with the service interval or still due. Replacing the engine oil and filter regularly is the key that keeps you out of frosty situations during winter drives.
Another important part of your vehicle is the coolant system. That helps keep your car’s engine away from overheating. Check that the vehicle contains a good mix of water and coolant (also called antifreeze) or else, it might lead to overheating of the engine while freezing the components from the inside. Check the coolant level and further, do not forget to check the whole system along with the hoses for any leaks.
Playing an important role for your safety, brakes also need to be checked frequently. This includes not just the brake pads but also the whole system that includes brake disc, caliper and brake fluid. At times, one doesn’t understand that even after pressing the brake pedal to its last limit, the brakes are not effective, which is basically due to the presence of air bubble in the brake fluid lines or could be due to totally worn out pads. So, keep a check on the brake system as well.
Inspect the Battery
Check the battery condition as whenever you cold-start the vehicle, the probability of battery drainage exceeds. Check the battery water level; if low, then top up to an appropriate level. Go through the condition of rubber hose by trying to squeeze; they might get hardened (it is soft to touch in general) due to the cold weather and might crack. Usually, when you crank the engine, it starts within a time of 5 seconds and if this crank time is stretched to more than 15 seconds, then it is time to check how old the batteries are; if too old, then you need to take it to a repair shop and get its charge checked.
Windshield and Wipers Care
Check the condition of the wiper rubbers of the windshield wipers as they tend to get hard in extreme weather and surely, it is a call for a replacement. Also, change the wiper fluid as the soap content loses its effect over time. If you drive in the hills quite frequently, then a fine layer of ice on the windscreen is obvious and to get rid of it, just add a decent amount of rubbing alcohol to the washer fluid bottle. Here, the alcohol acts as a de-icing agent. You can also use alcoholic beverages, but only the ones without sugar content in it.
While the windshield is clean from the outside with the help of a wiper, make sure that it is clean from the inside as well. Clear vision is what you need when driving through foggy route. An easy way out is by just using a damp newspaper and wiping the windscreen nicely.
One of the most crucial parts to check is the tyres. It is recommended to check the tyre pressure of the vehicle frequently, as inappropriate tyre pressure leads to wearing of the tyre earlier than its lifespan and also, worn-out tyres are dangerous to ride on, especially in winters. While checking the tyre condition, also keep in mind to inspect the sidewall of the tyres for any nicks and cuts. We also recommend tyre rotation, as maximum mass is on the front end of the vehicle that tends to wear the front tyres untimely. If the tyres are underinflated or if there is an issue with the wheel alignment, the car might use more fuel in order to work your vehicle’s engine harder. Most importantly, do check spares, like the Jack and wheel spanner, whether they are in working condition or not.
Protect the Seals
If you live in a place with cold weather, where you can expect snowfall to jam your vehicle's door due to ice formation between the door and the rubber seal, you can use Vaseline on the rubber seal to prevent the ice build-up and hardening of the material. This remedy is not just limited to extremely cold weather, but can also be used in places without such extreme weather; it helps in extending the life of the material while preventing from hardening as well.
Lights and bulbs Inspection
Check the lights and bulbs, replace the bulbs if you find any fused out bulbs, as you can never compromise with your clear vision during the night rides. Also, regularly, clean the headlamp and tail lamp housing and if you think that the housing is fogged up, you can easily make it clear with the help of a toothpaste wash. All you have to do is apply a good amount of toothpaste on the headlight cover and keep rubbing it, you will notice that the cover is coming out clean with time.
Rubber Hoses and Leakage
In the winter season, the rubber hoses tend to get hard, which might further get cracks and result in a leakage. Give a thorough check to all the hoses and drive belts regularly to avoid any sort of nightmare.
Keep an Emergency Winter Survival Kits Ready
Last but not least, prepare a winter survival kit so that you can save yourself from any toll while in an emergency situation. You must carry things like a first-aid kit, blankets, some non-perishable food, a small shovel or traction mat, fuel line anti-freeze, flashlight with some extra batteries, flares, battery jumper cables, engine oil, water and tyre chain.
If you are done with these simple steps, then your pre-winter car maintenance is complete and you will have a hassle-free experience this winter season, be it a drive to a Christmas party or a long trip on the New Year’s.