Winter in Lewisville, Texas, brings cold temperatures, snow, ice, slush, and rain. These conditions can be challenging on your vehicle and increase your chances of getting into an accident. If you want your car to operate smoothly and safely during winter, you need to perform some checks and maintenance tasks before the start of the season. Check out this helpful guide to winterizing your vehicle.
Why Is It Important to Winterize Your Car?
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Winter weather poses many safety hazards for drivers in the Lewisville area. Snow, rain, and fog can reduce your visibility, while icy roads make you more likely to lose control of your vehicle. Therefore, you’ll face a higher risk of getting into an accident during this time of the year.
Additionally, extremely low temperatures will cause your car battery to drain faster. If you don’t check your battery regularly, you may find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere with a car that won’t start. Another thing you need to worry about is road salt, which can lead to corrosion and even severe vehicle damage if left unattended.
If your vehicle is fully prepared for winter, you’ll be able to cope better with the hazardous driving conditions the season brings. This is especially important if you frequently drive around with your family or other passengers. Winterizing your vehicle can also help you prevent unnecessary car problems that can result in expensive repairs.
How to Winterize Your Car
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Winter car maintenance doesn’t require a lot of time, effort, and money, but it can go a long way in helping you, and your vehicle overcome the challenges of winter driving. Follow the tips below to winterize your car properly:
Check Your Car Battery
In freezing temperatures, the chemical reactions needed to produce power in a car battery will slow down. Also, the engine requires more power from the battery to start. These factors contribute to the starting problems that drivers commonly experience in winter.
As such, you should have a professional mechanic conduct a load test to determine whether you need to replace your car battery. If your battery is still good, the mechanic will check for problems such as corrosion, loose or damaged cables, and low fluid levels and fix them if necessary.
Replace Your Windshield Wiper Blades
Your windshield wipers play an essential role in ensuring good driving visibility during winter. If they’re leaving streaks on your windshield or showing signs of stiffness, cracking, or fraying, it’s time to replace them.
After installing a new set of windshield wipers, make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep them in good working order. Bear in mind that using your wipers to remove a thick layer of snow from your windshield can overload the motor, so you should use a scraper and a brush instead. If you park your vehicle outside, leave your wipers upright overnight so that they won’t freeze to the windshield.
With dirt, mud, and salt being kicked up from the road, you’ll likely be using a lot of windshield washer fluid. Make sure you regularly check the washer fluid reservoir and top it off if necessary. Avoid filling the reservoir with water as it can freeze in the washer lines. Instead, use a solution that contains an antifreeze agent.
Use the Right Engine Oil
Engine oil thickens in cold weather, making it more difficult for the engine to turn over. Most modern vehicles use multi-grade oil that can work at various temperatures, but some auto manufacturers recommend certain oil grades for specific temperature ranges. You can check your owner’s manual to determine if your vehicle needs different oil grades to varying times of the year.
When the temperature drops to a superficial level, you may want to consider installing an engine block heater in your car. This device can help prevent the engine oil from becoming cold and thick.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Cold temperatures can cause your tires to deflate at a faster rate. In general, tires will lose about 1 psi of pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Properly inflated tires can improve your vehicle’s ability to grip the road, which is especially important when you’re driving in wintry conditions. If you’re not sure how to check your tire pressure, use our tire pressure guide!
Test Your Antifreeze Mixture
The cooling system of your car’s engine should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water. This will prevent the coolant from freezing. You can either use pre-mixed coolant or buy full-strength antifreeze and dilute it with water. To check the composition of your coolant, get an inexpensive antifreeze tester at an auto parts store.
Check Your Belts and Hoses
In cold weather, the rubber parts of your engine can become brittle and fail. Check the belts and hoses in the engine bay for signs of wear and tear. They should be pliable yet firm when you squeeze them. If they’re overly soft, brittle, cracked, or frayed, you have to replace them.
Wax Your Vehicle
During winter, road salt can cause damage to your vehicle’s finish. To protect your paint job, it’s recommended that you give your car a fresh coat of wax before it starts snowing and wash it regularly throughout the season. If you own a modern vehicle, rust may not be a big problem. However, you should at least wash the underbody and wheel wells to prevent salt from building up.
Prevent Frozen Locks
Water can get into your vehicle’s door and trunk locks and prevent you from opening them. To ensure this won’t happen, lubricate the locks with a door-lock lubricant or silicone spray. If the locks are already frozen, you can thaw them with a lock antifreeze product.
Some car winterization tasks are simple enough to do independently, while others are best left to a professional mechanic. If you want the best results while saving time and effort, consider taking your vehicle to Huffines Chevrolet Lewisville for winter maintenance. From tire inspection to a battery replacement, our highly trained and experienced service technicians can perform any procedure needed to keep your car in optimal condition throughout the winter season. Contact us today to schedule a service appointment.