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Ways to prepare your car for winters

Snapshot: Here are some basic tips to take care of your car this winter.

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Winter season means extra care. Just as you wear extra layers of clothes to stay safe from the cold, your car also needs additional preparation to make it through the winter season. Your car also needs extra care. Here are some basic tips to take care of your car this winter.

Check the anti-freeze
Antifreeze is an important part of your car’s winter protection. Make sure your car contains a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. If the proportion is not right it will lead to overheating due to freezing. Make sure the level is full and also check the system for any leaks.

Inspect the battery
Cold starting your car puts greater drain on the batteries. If the batteries are old, they might not work well enough to provide the required current to start the car. Squeeze the rubber hoses to see if they are hardening in the cold. The rubber hoses should be soft and malleable to touch otherwise they will soon crack. With older batteries always use the starter in short five-second bursts if the engine doesn't start quickly and give 30 seconds between each attempt. Have its charge checked at a good repair shop to be sure.

Check the windshield wipers and fluid
Inspect the windshield wipers and replace them if they are worn or have become hardened. Also change the windshield wiper fluid with one that has antifreeze added to it. If you are living in the hills it is common to find ice on the windshield. Add few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into the windshield washer tank, which will turn the washer fluid into a de-icing agent. Even alcoholic beverages without sugar would be sufficient.

Check the tyres
Check the tyre pressure frequently. Examine if the tyres are worn out or not. Worn tyres can be dangerous in winters. Check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Also rotate your tyres as recommended. Don’t forget to check your spare, and make sure the jack is in good working condition. Under-inflated tyres or poorly aligned wheels makes your engine work harder and thus use excess fuel.

Protect the seals
In places where snowfall is common, you can find jammed car doors due to ice formation between the rubber seals and the door. The best way to protect the seals is by applying Vaseline. It will prevent them from hardening and also avoid ice build-up. Even in places without snow lubricating the rubber seal is recommended as it extends their life and prevents their hardening up in the cold weather.

Check all lights and bulbs
If the bulbs are burned out replace them. Regularly clean the road grime from all lenses. Fogged up lenses can be refinished by many workshops.

Check the rubber hoses
Cold hardens rubber hoses, making them at risk to cracking. Check the car’s hoses and belts during the winter months regularly.

Change oil and oil filter
Take a look at your car’s oil and oil filters. Ensure that you change oil regularly as recommended in your manual.  Clean and efficient engine oil is the key to beating the frosts of winter driving.

Clean the windscreens
Make sure the windscreen and other windows are clean inside and outside for a clear vision. Use a clean slightly moistened newspaper to give it a good wipe and clean it.

Prepare for emergencies
Prepare yourself for any kind of emergencies. Carry the following for driver and passengers: first-aid kit, blankets, flares, a small shovel, tyre chains, a flashlight, a cell phone, portable charge, water and some non-perishable snacks.

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