3 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter
Whether you live on the east coast, you're prepping for a winter road trip, or the cold weather is right around the corner, you should make sure your car is ready for even the worst winter conditions in your neck of the woods.
To help you stay safe and prepare your car for winter, Christian Brothers Automotive can help. Not only are our local auto repair shops always there to assist in the proper winterization of your car, but we're also here to help you discover some ways winter weather can affect your car and tips on how to prepare your car for dropping temperatures, snow, heavy wind, and more.
1. Inspect Your Tires
With a little research and experience, you'll see that "check tires" is often the first step on any auto inspection checklist – and for a good reason, too: your tires are your one and only contact on the road.
Be sure to inspect your tires':
Your tire tread is crucial in gripping the road your car is on. This traction control becomes even more important when driving on winter roads, whether there's rainwater, slush, or snow.
The easiest way to inspect your tire's tread is by using the penny trick. Just put the head side down into the middlemost tread marker. If you see the top of Lincoln's head, your tread is worn and it's time to look at getting new tires.
Good tire air pressure ensures your car's tires wear properly year-round and keeps your vehicle safer on the road during the winter months. Find your tire's optimal air pressure on the door and use a tire pressure gauge to compare.
If you need air, drop by a gas station, tire shop, or auto repair shop to get your tires to the right level. Remember, cold weather drops your tire's pressure, so don't be surprised if you find yourself having to fill them again before the year ends.
Winter is a good time to consider replacing your car's tires. Why? Because you'll benefit the most during winter from a brand-new set! Any tires older than six years should be replaced, regardless of the amount of the tread, to give your car superior handling.
Old, smooth, or flat tires are certainly not what you want before embarking on winter weather-worn roads, as they can limit your stopping power on icy or wet roads and make it more difficult to gain control.
If you see anything wrong with your tires during your inspection, bring your car to a local auto shop for a second opinion – and maybe even a new set of tires if it's time! Upgrading to winter tires can be more effective if you find yourself having to face deep snow often.
2. Turn Your Car's Heater On
A broken heater is the last thing you want to be stuck with during a winter drive. And unfortunately, after not using it all summer, you can't just assume it will work correctly.
Make sure your car's heater is ready to deal with chilly temperatures by turning it on and ensuring everything is blowing and heating correctly. The heater relies on your car's cooling system, also known as where the antifreeze or coolant is stored, so it's worth inspecting your cooling system too.
Confirm that your car's cooling system:
- Is using the right type of antifreeze for outdoor temperatures
- Has the right level of fluids
- Is at an appropriate pressure by doing a pressure test
We recommend you visit your local Christian Brothers Automotive to perform these tests. Without the proper equipment, you will be unable to perform a pressure test nor be able to confirm that you are using the right type of antifreeze. If you want to learn more about your cooling system and how it can affect the comfort of your car's cabin, explore our guide and other cooling system blogs!
3. Check Your Car Battery
Car batteries are notorious for dying in the winter. Not only do they gradually lose charge as temperatures plummet, but the overall charging capacity also reduces, making it harder to hold enough of a power charge in the first place.
Inspect for swelling and corrosion first and foremost. You can even check your battery's charge using a voltmeter or bring it into an auto shop for help.
To make sure your battery is charged and ready to go during the winter, you can:
- Wrap Your Battery – Adding extra insulation to your car's battery can help reduce the cold weather's grip. Battery blankets can be purchased online for cheap and easily installed.
- Don't Leave Your Car Outside – During the winter, do your best to keep your car in an enclosed space like a garage. This keeps things a bit warmer while also helping you avoid the chilly wind.
- Unplug Accessories – Since your battery won't have as much power as it normally does, ensure unnecessary power isn't being used. When your car isn't in use, make sure to unplug car lighter adapters, USB cords, and such to conserve power.
If you feel like something is wrong with your car battery, consider purchasing a new car battery. You will still have to deal with the power drawbacks of the colder weather, but the newer the battery, the more reliable it will be to get you where you need to go.
Winter Car Maintenance is Easy with Our Help
When it's time to winterize your car, turn to your local Christian Brothers Automotive shop. Our professional technicians are always ready to provide you with a courtesy inspection, just to make sure no problems need to be addressed, and the seasonal maintenance you need to ensure your car is truly ready for the winter months!
Ready to get started? Find your closest CBA location and reach out to schedule your visit!