Winter is rough on cars. From salted roads that corrode metal parts to rubber that cracks and degrades thanks to the dry, frigid air, there’s no shortage of ways that the cold season can attack your vehicle. How can you fight back?
Wash Your Car Regularly
Aside from making your car look presentable, washing it will also protect it.
Road salt can build up on your car’s undersides and slowly eat away at it. Even with the best corrosion resistance, it’s only a matter of time before the deterioration starts to show.
The solution? Wash it away!
It’s best to wash your car by hand, as the rollers at automated car washes are often full of dirt and grime. When they rub against your car, they can be abrasive to your car’s paint.
When you’re done washing, apply a wax or ceramic coating for more protection.
Consider Getting Some Snow Tires
Snow tires are your best bet when it comes to maintaining traction on wet, icy roads. They have treads designed specifically to handle these sorts of slippery conditions.
Check Your Battery and Replace It if Needed
Unlike your phone, which is powered by the latest in lithium-ion battery technology, your car battery is most likely the ancient lead-acid variety.
This isn’t generally an issue since your battery is really only there to start the car and feed the alternator. However, lead-acid batteries don’t do well in the cold, meaning they’ll drain faster when the temperature drops.
Top Off All Fluids
Your car will get a workout when driving through snow, so you want to make sure that all moving parts are working in friction-free harmony. This is especially important if you have all-wheel drive, as there are more parts to keep moving.
Check Belts, Hoses, Wiper Blades, and Other Rubber Parts
The cold can cause these flexible bits to become brittle and crack. It’s also a good idea to listen to the belts as they turn. If they’re squealing, it could mean they just need more tension, but it could also mean they’re on their last legs.
Check the rubber seals around your vehicle’s doors and windows to make sure they’re still soft and pliable — these vital components keep the cold out of the cabin. Your wipers might also get worn out, so make sure you replace them if necessary.
Make Sure Your Climate Controls Work
Getting caught without heat in below-freezing weather is no fun at all. As such, you’ll want to confirm that your car’s thermostat is working properly, the vents are blowing, and the cabin environment is reaching the temperature you’ve set.
Be Prepared and Enjoy the Season
Learning how to winterize a car is necessary for those who live in cold climates. By learning to perform a few simple procedures, you can keep your car reliable and protected when the temperature drops and preserve it for years to come.