There is no doubt that your car is one of the greatest investments you will ever make, and it is frightening how easy it is to damage it. However, protecting it from winter conditions is not too hard and can save you a lot of trouble. Winter conditions are some of the biggest hazards to your car and can take a toll on the body, tires, oil, and more, so taking measures to avoid them is critical for the longevity of your car. Below are ten ways that you can protect your car during the winter.
Investing in a car cover is one of the easiest and smartest ways to protect your vehicle from crazy winter weather. They are available for all makes and models, and they can also be customized to fit your car perfectly. The best car covers are sturdy yet breathable and protect against snow, sleet, hail, and wind. Car covers are available for indoor parking and outdoor conditions, so finding the right car cover for you is crucial if you want to protect your car.
Most of us have heard that dreadful squeaking our windshield wipers start to make when they need to be replaced, and there is no time more important than the winter to have functional wipers. Most wipers are made with unique blends of rubbers that help whisk away moisture that can lessen your field of vision. Of course, driving with an obstructed view is very dangerous, so lackluster windshield wipers can be detrimental to your traveling. It is recommended that windshield wipers be changed around every 6 months, but they should definitely be tested prior to winter and replaced if needed.
Most people rarely think about their windshield washer fluid, but it is always a wise move to winter-ready that, too. Many washer fluids use methanol, but good winter wiper fluid includes antifreeze. Antifreeze, as you would expect, prevents your vehicle’s fluid from freezing. If your vehicle’s fluid freezes, it can cause very costly damage; therefore, it is important to prevent that from happening.
Make sure your radiator cap is also in proper working order, as it protects your antifreeze and won’t let it leak. Radiator caps are very inexpensive, so if you think you may need one, you should get one.
Of course, getting stuck in snow is one of the worst possible scenarios. You’ll definitely need a shovel so you don’t get trapped, but you’ll also need a snow brush and ice scraper. Most vehicles have decent defrosters, but these can take a while and if you’re in a hurry, you’ll need to scrape your windshield and windows. Thankfully, shovels and snow/ice tools have been improved greatly within the past decade and they are inexpensive compared to many other car products.
Your tires are one of the most critical parts of your car - without them, your car doesn’t move at all! That is why you should invest in tires that can handle harsh weather conditions and will last a long time. Winter tires are a great idea if you live in cold conditions, as they have tread patterns that can really grip the ground and keep the car from slipping. Winter tires are also typically made up of different rubber compounds than “normal” tires, which helps them gain even better traction in ice and snow. Many people are worried about the price of winter tires; however, when compared to insurance deductibles and costs, winter tires can oftentimes turn out to be a smart investment.
Protecting the paint on your car is important because damage such as fading and rot can be detrimental. Paint sealants are excellent because they can form a barrier to prevent damage against water, chemicals (e.g. acid rain), and salts. They are a better alternative to wax and polishes because they offer more protection and last longer. These can normally last around five months, so about the length of a winter. Maintaining the finish also makes the resale value of your vehicle higher. Paint sealants are not too expensive, so they are worth the price.
There is always a lot of debris on roads, but it can be even more destructive during the winter. Moisture from rain, snow, sleet and more can seep into any scratches on your car’s paint and subsequently freeze. Once it thaws, the paint around the scratches begins to crack and oxidation can destroy your car. To prevent oxidation from occurring, wash your car regularly to remove any of that leftover moisture.
We’ve been talking a lot about the outside of your car, but the inside is also important. Make sure to treat your leather before winter, as the cold air extracts moisture from leather and can cause cracks that can be costly to fix. Make sure you use trusted products to treat your leather.
Most of us have seen ads for auto shops offering “winter prep” services before the bad weather comes. Of course, these include a full inspection including the battery, alternator, wipers, brakes, and so on. Your battery is one of the most critical components of your car, and winter weather makes it work harder because your car requires more power to start. An auto inspection can also confirm all of the wires under the hood are connected properly to avoid any wiring issues.
We always hear about getting an oil change, but do you really know what that entails? There is a large debate over conventional versus synthetic oil, but winter is a good time to use synthetic oil. Synthetic oil, unlike conventional oil, doesn’t really take time to get warm, which helps your car start faster. However, always be sure to check your vehicle’s manual to ensure you are putting proper oil in it.
Ultimately, taking care of your car and preparing it for winter can protect you and save you a lot of troubles in the cold weather.