Auto Body Tip: 7 Ways to Winterize Your Car
Today’s auto body tip focuses on how to winterize your car. Yep, it’s about that time again. There is already frost covering the cars in the mornings, the temperature keeps dropping, and the forecast will definitely call for some flurries pretty soon. Even here in Western North Carolina, we have to take precautions with our cars in the winter months.
Luckily, there are several things that you can do to protect your car throughout the winter. It is all about taking your safety seriously and being prepared ahead of time. Here are several things you can do to winterize your car…
1. Get regular oil changes
There are certain oils that are better to use during the cold, winter months. Changes in outside temperature can also affect the temperature of your car’s oil. If your oil is too cold, it will thicken and make it harder for your engine to turn over. Some manufacturers recommend different grades of oil for specific temperature ranges. Check the owner’s manual or ask your local service station what they recommend.
2. Run engine coolant through your car
Your car’s coolant system keeps your engine from overheating and protects it from corrosion. Your engine requires both coolant and water, and each vehicle requires a different ratio, so make sure to check your owner’s manual or ask your service station. Typically, the ratio is 50/50. As a general auto body tip, it’s best not too add coolant or water until you know the ratio.
3. Check your Battery
Your battery’s power is actually reduced in cold temperatures. Make sure your check the battery is getting a full charge and that the fluid level is adequate. See your owner’s manual for instructions on your specific car. You can also take the car to a service station that will check it for you.
4. Keep your windshield protected
Your windshield gets cold and frosted over, so taking care of it is especially important in the winter. For best results, keep the windshield clean, and use special washer fluid that has an antifreeze solution. Make sure to replace any windshield wiper blades with old rubber that may be leaving streaks .
5. Watch the tread on your tires
Check your tires to see how worn the thread is on them. If they are getting low, right before winter is the best time to get new ones. Roads will be slippery, and without proper tread, you will be more likely to slip and slide off the road. Put your personal safety first, and make sure you have enough traction should you get in a tricky spot.
Depending on where in WNC you live, it may be a good idea to invest in some snow tires. A lot of the back roads don’t get the immediate attention they need from plows, so we are often stuck at home if our cars can’t handle it. Certain roads up in the Asheville mountains or even in Hendersonville get enough snow that would warrant snow tires. Applying studs to the tires may be a good idea. All-season tires may also be a good option here since we do get snow and ice, but not as much or as intense as other areas, and you can drive with them all year long.
6. Give the engine time to warm up
It’s easy enough to get in your car, start it up and go. However, most engines perform better when they are able to warm up for a few minutes before being driven. Warming up the engine before you drive it allows the oil to heat up and flow more smoothly. And bonus: you car is nice and warm when you’re ready to get in!
7. Keep an emergency kit in the car
Despite our best efforts, sometimes things go wrong. It’s also a good idea to be prepared in case of an emergency situation, especially in the winter. Keep useful items in your car, such as a blanket, a working flashlight, extra batteries, a portable cell phone charge, water and snacks for times you may be unexpectedly waiting for help. Other items to keep in your car include coolant, engine oil, washer fluid, flares, and cat litter to put under tires for more traction.
TD Customs is a full service auto body repair shop, providing all kinds of collision repair services, including classic restorations and custom paint jobs. Contact us if you need an auto body repairs done, and we’d be happy to get you on the schedule.