I’ll be honest. I hate winter as much as the next guy, but have you ever thought about how much your car hates winter?
If your car could talk to you it would say, “Let’s get on a ship and go to Fiji for a few months.”
All joking aside, let’s talk about winterizing your car for the long cold months ahead. Cold weather can affect many of your car’s systems, most important of which is your cooling system. Proper coolant in your system is crucial for safe engine operation and good heat on the inside.
Why so important you ask?
I was once young and maybe not a smart as I think I am today (seems like a hundred years ago) but, I was driving an old beater that I put together with spare parts and little money. I was pretty proud of my daily driver, but I didn’t remember that earlier in the summer I had over heated and filled my radiator with plain water. The first cold snap came and all that water in my radiator froze into a sold block of ice. Not knowing this, off to work I went. It wasn’t long before the check engine light came on, but it was too late. I blew the head gasket. What would have been a few bucks and a little time of preventative maintenance just cost me a motor and a radiator. It split like a bottle of pop left in the freezer.
So what can you do to keep this from happening to your car?
- Look at your battery. Now is a good time to clean the terminals and add water if you can. If more than three years old, have a repair garage or parts store check it out with a load test.
- Make sure that your oil is in good condition. If it’s near the mileage interval for an oil change replace it now. Oil changes viscosity when it’s cold. That (W) stands for winter. So make sure it’s clean, fresh and ready for those cold mornings.
- Give your belts and hoses a good once over. If worn or cracked, replace them.
- Check the air in your tires. Tire pressure fluctuates with temperature. Properly inflated tires will get you the best traction in adverse road conditions.
- Take time to top off all other fluids in your car. Keep an extra bottle of washer fluid handy.
- Stop by your local parts store and pick up an antifreeze tester. They’re really cheap!
- Make sure that you have the proper 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water. That way even on the coldest day of the year your car won’t die like mine did.
Stay safe and happy driving!
Brad the Airtex-ASC Tech Guy