As temperatures drop, daily commutes double and sunlight decreases, it's more important than ever to make sure your vehicle is in good shape. Avoid getting stuck in the cold, bad accidents and lasting damage by following these five simple winter car care tips!
- Check your battery - An engine can take up to twice as much energy in cold weather as it needs under regular conditions, and according to AAA'S Automotive Research Center, at -17.7ºC a car's battery loses about 60% of its strength. If the weather is well below zero your car battery can actually freeze on you. To avoid any problems, check your battery! Bring it in to Southview Acura and have our technicians determine the health of your battery. Your car battery can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years old; if your lights are dim, dashboard battery warning light is on, electronic accessories are failing, or you can smell sulfur, it's time to have your car battery tested or replaced.
- Check your tires - It may seem like a no brainer to have winter tires installed when temperatures start to drop - winter tires feature more aggressive tread designs with softer tread compounds which allow them to remain pliable in low temperatures and provide loads of traction. But did you know that cold weather can decrease tire pressure, which can increase braking distances and dramatically affect your vehicle's handling? Underinflation can also cause irregular wear on your tires, meaning they'll wear out far quicker than if they were properly inflated. Double check that you not only have winter tires, but that they have enough pressure!
- Check your fluids - Allow your vehicle to warm up briefly before driving - not only will this make for a cozy cabin, but it will ensure fluids in your vehicle's engine warm up and thin out. Oil and transmission fluid will be thicker and more viscous in cold weather, and forcing them through internal seals in your engine can cause lasting damage. Make sure your windshield washer fluid and antifreeze are also topped up - windshield washer fluid will ensure you have good visibility no matter how slushy it is outside, and antifreeze stops water in the engine's cooling system from freezing in cold temperatures.
- Check your lights - If you're driving in winter chances are you're driving in the dark. It's essential to make sure your brake lights, signal lights, headlights and taillights are all in working condition. Not only do you need to see the road, but any traffic you may be sharing the road with need to see you, too! Brush off any snow from your lights whenever you drive, and if you have a backup camera and sensors make sure you brush them off as well. If your lights seem a little foggy or yellow consider replacing them.
- Wash your car! - When metal is exposed to a combination of oxygen and water for an extended period of time rust starts to form - road salt acts as a catalyst and can speed up this process. If you're going to wash your car at home make sure that it's warmer than -23ºC. Any water will freeze quickly, freezing your door hinges and causing other parts to stick. You should also avoid using hot water on your windshield to avoid any possible shattering. Or, to avoid the headache all together, bring your car in to Southview Acura and have our professional detailers take care of it for you!