Six Winter Car Care Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running Smoothly
Throughout most of the United States, driving in the winter can be especially tough on your vehicle. Sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow, defrosters on full blast, and long periods of no activity can wear down your car—no matter how new or old it is. With the coldest months of the year quickly approaching, it’s time to take a look at winter car care and what you can start doing today to prepare your vehicle for the weather ahead. At U-Pull-&-Pay we love the do-it-yourself spirit. That’s why we’re excited to share our top tips so that you can take car maintenance into your own hands and get more out of your beloved vehicle.
Keeping Your Car Battery Healthy in Winter
Car batteries don’t always have tell-tale signs before they go bad. The first sign of winter is a good time to get your battery checked at a local auto shop or store. Testing your car battery can reveal any signs of degradation or loss of charge. If your battery is already beginning to show signs of possibly needing a replacement, don’t wait through the winter. It’s safe to go ahead and invest in a replacement battery to decrease your likelihood of a breakdown or getting stranded when you need it most. If you’re looking to replace your car battery on a budget, check out your local U-Pull-&-Pay to see our large inventory.
Drive Your Car Throughout the Winter Months
Growing up, you probably heard that you need to crank your car and let it idle on cold days to keep the car healthy. There is some truth to this, but instead of just letting your car idle, you should actually take it out for a quick drive (which can be a great time to get a change of scenery during the frigid months!) Driving your car during the winter without letting it sit for too long is good practice to keep your vehicle running smoothly. This helps warm up crucial mechanics like your engine, brakes, and your transmission. If you get caught in a snowstorm that keeps you off the road for an extended period of time, make sure to carve out some dedicated time to care for your car afterward.
Safe Driving with Winter Tires
All-weather tires can be driven in winter, but if you live in a part of the United States that experiences ice, sleet, and heavy snowfall, you may be better off investing in a pair of winter tires. Winter tires are designed to operate best in cold, ice, and snow. A deeper tread depth improves crucial traction. It is recommended that you change your all-weather tires to snow tires once the temperatures dip consistently below 45 degrees in your area.
First time changing your tires? Learn how to do it yourself!
Winter Weather After-Care for Your Car
When snow is forecasted, towns go to work preparing the roads to help maintain passable highways. This involves de-icing, usually with salt or brine spray. This road salt is kicked up under your car into the undercarriage when you drive on it, and over time, this can eat away at the metal, creating conditions favorable for rust. After the threat of snow is over, even if nothing happened, it’s good to take your car through the wash to remove all of that road salt build-up to avoid problems later.
Routine Winter Car Maintenance
At the beginning of every season, it’s recommended that you check the fluids in your car and make sure everything is properly topped off. In addition to a routine oil change, you should also consider a heavy-duty washer fluid, brake fluid, and anti-freeze. If it’s been close to 6 months since you last changed your windshield wiper blades, now is a good change to swap those out.
Emergency Car Kit for Winter
While you’re performing routine car maintenance for the winter, it’s a good time to make sure you have an emergency kit. Taking a few minutes to pack a winter emergency kit in your vehicle now could save your life if you become stranded in severe weather later. Some of our top recommendations for a winter car safety kit are:
- Jumper cables
- Bottles of water
- Non-perishable snacks
- Ice scraper and/or snow brush
- First-aid kit
- Extra clothes, hats, gloves, mittens, blankets
- Reflective triangles
Prepare Your Car for Winter at U-Pull-&-Pay
Looking to get the most out of your car this winter? Whether you have some routine maintenance that you’ve been putting off or you’re looking to complete one last project before the heaviest of the winter weather arrives, we have a self-serve used auto parts junkyard and a team of experts ready to help you take on your DIY project. Find your local U-Pull-&-Pay or check our inventory online.