Winter car care tips
The winter months are known for being an especially busy and stressful time of year, which is why you should take the time to be sure your car can handle the changes in the weather. Here are a few things to have checked out so that your car can make it through the winter.
A critical part of keeping your car safe during the winter months is checking your tires for wear and tear. Tire treads should not be worn down less than 2/32 of an inch for normal tires and 3/32 of an inch for snow tires. You can purchase a tire tread depth gauge at most auto parts stores. You may also want to have your tires rotated and aligned by a professional to ensure maximum life and performance. And last but not least, don’t forget to check your tire pressure. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help keep you safe and increase your fuel efficiency.
Does your oil make the grade?
Changing your oil is an important step in maintaining your car, but did you know that you might need to change the grade of oil that you use in the winter months? Using the right oil grade can help your car run more efficiently, make starting your car in the cold easier and keep your engine running better longer. Consult the owner’s manual in your car to find the right oil grades for your car so that you can make the proper adjustments for the winter months.
Have you checked your liquids?
Antifreeze is a liquid that goes in your engine to keep the fluids which keep your car running from freezing when exposed to cold weather. If you don’t have the right amount of antifreeze in your car, when cold weather hits, the fluid could freeze and cause cracks in your car. Also remember that antifreeze can help keep your car’s cooling system from rusting, as well as overheating, so if you are unsure about what kind of coolant you should be using, or how much, bring your car to a gas station or repair shop to get it checked out.
It can also be a good idea to check your wiper fluid before the weather gets nasty. When snow mixes with salt and dirt from the streets, it can leave a cloudy residue on your windshield. Water alone may not get the residue off your windshield and if you are out of wiper fluid, you may not be able to see the road and other cars clearly enough to drive safely. In addition to keeping your wiper fluid reservoir full, it is also a smart idea to replace your wiper blades every six months. You can purchase special snow blades and good wiper fluid at an auto parts store.
Last but not least, one of the most important fluids to keep tabs on is gas. This may seem like common sense, but you may find that you put off filling up your tank to stay warm. When it is cold out, your engine will be the only source of heat that your car has, which means that if you run out of gas you will be out of luck. In addition, a full gas tank helps prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and potentially freezing.