When winter begins, so does talk about winterizing. I like to think of the term “winterizing” as a marketing ploy on vehicle owners to produce the classic “fear-tactic.” Now I’m definitely not telling you to neglect your car during the winter. What I am saying is that its necessary, but simple, to learn how to maintain your car properly.
Hibernation season is not just for bears, you know. We may have to put away our joy rides and rely heavily on our mammoth machines to get through this season. Either way, you’ll need to learn how to maintain your car through hibernation season. A car that is not used frequently is fragile and desperate for maintenance. Think of this situation as though it were a person. If a person is accustomed to staying in a hospital bed for a long period of time, their body will become sore and their muscles will atrophy.
Your car goes through the same injuries that a human does, it just occurs in a different way. For example, in your car, the oil may congeal if left stagnant, the coolant breaks down, the brakes and rotors rust out and fuel may evaporate. Water, salt, and wind do a nightmare to the body which can rust, and the battery life is not eternal. That is a lot to go through! Just as we have to be cautious about our activities in order to prevent accidents, so you too need to be extremely cautious by taking several measures in order to prevent your car from going intro disrepair through simple oversight.
You can be cautious with your car by remembering to do these things:
- Check the battery. The battery is quite possibly your most significant competent in the car. It literally gets your car started. As the battery gets older, it starts to work less effectively so take care to monitor how long you’ve had it, and if you suspect that its effectiveness is waning, have it checked at your local parts dealer or trusted auto shop. Batteries tend to last about 5 years, you should keep a log in your glove compartment so that you have an easily accessible reminder. Remember, be pro-active not re-active.
- Check the tires. Another important step, especially as the temperature drops, is to check your tire pressure. This affords your car on-road stability, but also helps to maintain fuel efficiency. Many cars today have a lighted alert on their dashboard that looks like an alarmed fishbowl: but even so, and especially if not, periodical manual checks of your tires are a great way to ensure proper tire pressure, but also to inspect for sign of wear and damage. These checks will help to avoid preventable blow-outs and flat tires along your journey.
- Check your anti-freeze. Your antifreeze is a coolant that your car needs to function. Your antifreeze is part of the coolant recovery system in front of your car. But take extra caution when checking your antifreeze because while the car is still hot, it is never safe to open your radiator cap. You need to open the cap on the radiator to see whether the liquid reaches the full line. Your antifreeze should be flushed every two years though some can lastfor up to fifteen. Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines so you don’t end up spending more than is required.
- Check your wiper blades. Most people don’t consider their wiper blades. Do not make that mistake. Regular blades are adequate but winter blades are effective for heavy sleet, hail and ice but most importantly, that falling wet, icy snow. Winter blades will help you to reduce the ice build-up in the frame of the blades. Wiper blades tend to get replaced every six months, and very often are replaced for free with purchase.
- Check your washer solvent. This needs to be filled up all the way. Carrying extra in your trunk may come in handy, and it’s a sensible place to store excess.
- Gas Tank: It’s smart in all weather to always fill up the gas tank in order to prevent condensation. Condensation forms in the very same way it does on the side of your glass. As the car heats up, condensation can form on the inside of the tank and entire into the fuel system — which is never good.
- Wax, wax, wax: A seasonal professional wash and wax of the exterior of your car will help to prevent the paint and body beneath it from the elements that could damage it. Waxing your car is the equivalent to applying sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin. Waxing is crucial. If you look at some of the cars on the road, you may notice that the paint may be faded or the coat is peeling; perhaps it’s covered with scratches and scruffs. These are all very preventable with regular washes and waxes.
- Wash it. Get your car washed in the winter. I highly recommend this especially in areas where road salt and melting snow can take a toll on a car’s finish and the metal throughout. Make sure to include the undercarriage rinse when you wash your car so that salt can be removed from hard to reach places. For example, those places include behind the bumper and in the wheel wells. Salt tends to accumulate there and cause rust.
So remember, maintaining your car is like maintaining your body. If you listen and take heed to precautionary measures, the positive outcomes in preventative maintenance allow your car’s lifespan to multiply, and its value to stay intact. Remember: I wouldn’t necessarily call these suggestions “winterizing,” as this is more like a catch up which is pertinent for all the seasons.
This week’s blog post was brought to you by: Isioma Ononye
Edited by: Women Auto Know staff