How to Prepare a Car for Winter

Published On: December 6, 20220 Comments on How to Prepare a Car for WinterTags: , Last Updated: January 21, 20245.7 min read

Subzero temperatures, ice, and reagents on the road that corrode the car body create challenging conditions for vehicle owners and their transport maintenance. It may seem impossible to prepare properly for the winter and adapt to difficult circumstances. However, there are common recommendations to follow that will allow you to get through this complicated driving season with more confidence and exclude the situation when you will have to sell a salvage car on public car auction. We can assure you that if preparation for the winter season is taken quite seriously, you can even prolong the service life of your vehicle.

snow on cars

In our article, we will look at the top tips for car preparation and safety when driving in difficult winter conditions and answer some important questions. What do you need to take with you on the road? What should be checked before departure? How important are fuel and oil levels in the winter? How to care for tires? If you want to clarify the vehicle history lookup, Clearvin will obviously help for free to check everything you need, stay with us and buy almost new autos for less price on insurance car auctions.

Advice #1: Winter Tires Are a Must

Slippery roads in the winter are often the cause of serious accidents, so it’s important to make sure your tires are suitable for the weather. To prepare your car for winter in advance, you should first take care of purchasing proper tires. Driving on summer tires on icy roads isn’t only unwise but also dangerous. If you drive only around the city, it will be enough to install ordinary winter tires. At the same time, if you use the vehicle mostly for trips outside the city, it’s better to buy studded tires. Another important rule is to check the pressure in each tire regularly. A flat tire closes the tread, which significantly reduces traction, thereby increasing the likelihood of skidding on a slippery road. The recommended pressure should be specified in the operating manual.

Advice #2: Pay Attention to the Battery

Another problematic part of any car in winter is the battery. Problems starting the engine can often arise in severe frost, so it’s necessary to take care of the battery’s technical state in advance. The service life of a car battery is 3 to 5 years, so you should monitor its age. If it’s time to replace the accumulator, it’s better to do it in the fall, when, as a rule, “fresh” batteries go on sale. In harsh winter conditions, use high-quality, branded batteries only, so you will be sure of their great performance. If you choose not to replace the battery to save money, stock up on wires and a portable car jump starter, as a worn-out battery may simply refuse to work in the cold.

If your accumulator life has not yet expired, check it and make sure everything is in order. Examine the wires and terminals for wear and corrosion. If a white coating is visible on the terminals, then this is corrosion as a result of exposure to battery acid. You can help yourself with this by using water, baking soda, and a toothbrush. It’s also advisable to recharge the battery and check the density of the electrolyte. If the last parameter has dropped below the 1.27 mark, it’s time to think about replacing your accumulator. Most batteries have a cover that can be removed to check the fluid level. Make sure the level is sufficient. If it’s not enough, then add distilled water, but don’t pour it over the edge.

Advice #3: Replace the Brake Pads

Brake pads, even if they aren’t very worn, must be replaced before winter. As practice shows, the main cause of skidding is the difference in braking moments between the wheels. The brake fluid should also be changed; this procedure should be done at least once every two years. It’s better to buy brake fluid of the highest quality without cutting corners and neglecting your safety.

cleaning snow off the car

Advice #4: Check the Oil and Its Viscosity

On the eve of frost, it’s also necessary to replace the oil and oil filter. The fluid lubricates the metal parts of the engine, protecting it from damage. Viscosity, or the thickness of the oil, significantly affects the operation of the motor. If the lubricant is too thick, it slowly flows over the parts, which can cause the engine to overheat. In winter, when the temperature is low, the oil thickens under the influence of the low temperature. You can easily cope with this problem by filling in oil with a lower viscosity, which is very suitable for winter.

Advice #5: Maintain Sufficient Level of Antifreeze

In the process of preparing for winter, the coolant must be replaced with antifreeze. Antifreeze protects the car engine both from freezing in cold weather and from overheating in hot weather, as well as from corrosion. It’s important to maintain an equal amount of water and antifreeze in the radiator because the 50:50 ratio is considered optimal and prevents liquids from freezing at temperatures of almost -40 °F. Fortunately, you don’t have to stand in front of the car with a measuring cup. It’s possible to buy a ready-made mixture of antifreeze and water at any gas station. If you add an insufficient amount of antifreeze, the coolant may freeze and the engine may overheat. In this case, you will have to change one or two gaskets, which, taking the work into account, can be expensive.

Advice #6: Fill the Tank Full and Maintain a Sufficient Fuel Level

Given that low fuel is harmful to a car at any time of the year, because you risk being stuck somewhere without fuel. Driving on an empty tank in winter is especially dangerous. A cold temperature with constant fluctuations can lead to the formation of condensation on the walls of a half-empty tank, and soon water will get into the fuel. Water is heavier than gasoline or diesel, so it will sink to the bottom, which is very bad. If water gets into the fuel line, it will freeze, blocking the fuel path to the engine, which will obviously spoil all your plans. Repairing such a malfunction will cost you a pretty penny. As a result, keeping a full tank will save both the car and money.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there are a few simple recommendations to follow during the winter that will save both your vehicle and money. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t neglect maintaining your automobile, especially in the cold weather season. Keep proper levels of technical fluids and fuel, inspect your wheels and car battery, and adhere to speed limits and safe driving techniques to ensure a trouble-free winter.

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