Winter is hard on cars. Freezing temperatures, slippery conditions, and corrosion-causing salt on roads all contribute to wear and tear — not to mention possible accidents. But with basic winter-weather prep, you can keep your car in tip-top shape through the winter months.
Clean Your Car Regularly
Salted roads are great for traction because salt prevents ice from building up. However, salt is also effective at causing rust. If you live in an area that salts roads, go through the car wash on a regular basis to avoid corrosion.
You may also opt to apply a ceramic coating for extra protection.
Use Heavy-Duty Floor Mats
Road salt is also damaging to car interiors. It can stain the seats and carpets, cause them to wear faster, and possibly damage electronics as well. Additionally, if you walk through snow and ice to get to your car, you’re bringing extra moisture into it whenever you drive.
To avoid mildew and unpleasant odors, use heavy-duty floor mats designed to handle moisture. Investing in a winter care kit can also be a great way to clean and protect your car’s interior.
Care for Your Battery
Batteries are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so if you can keep your car garaged, so much the better. Make sure to test your battery to stay on top of its health, especially if you use standard lead-acid batteries.
Battery testers are inexpensive and a worthy investment to ensure you’ll be able to start your car reliably. Also, check for corrosion on your battery terminals, and clean them if necessary. Put on gloves, use a wire brush to scrub off any acid residue, and finish by wiping the terminals down with a paper towel.
Opt for Snow Tires
Traction is crucial on icy roads. Don’t count on all-wheel drive (AWD) to get you out of trouble if your tires have no grip. Snow tires may require a bit of an investment, but the safety benefits they offer can be well worth the expense.
Use Winter Wiper Blades
Regular wiper blades can clog up with snow, but winter wiper blades don’t have this problem. Since winter blades have a rubber cover across their entire length, there’s nowhere for snow or ice to stick.
Top Off the Coolant
Coolant — or antifreeze — is necessary for keeping engines from overheating and fighting corrosion throughout the coolant system. Make sure your coolant level is up to the “max” mark on the tank. Also, be careful not to mix different types of antifreeze because each one has its own formulated lifespan.
Protect Your Car All Winter Long
Cold weather can bring a number of challenges, but vehicle trouble doesn’t have to be one of them. With a little preventive care, your car can be protected against the colder temperatures all winter long.