6 important tips for winter car care
Monday, October 15, 2018, 6:00 AM - Winter is coming! For car owners in most of the country, snow and ice present the worst possible conditions for operating a vehicle.
That means, in addition to your routine maintenance, you’re going to need to prepare ahead of time for extreme weather.
Car batteries are often hit hardest by the cold weather, which severely impacts their cranking power. This is especially true in batteries over four years old.
Before the winter weather sets in, make sure to pack a set of good jumper cables in your vehicle. Alternately, emergency starts are possible with all-in-one power packs – a great portable investment to have on hand.
During cold starts, it’s not necessary to let the engine idle for an extended time. When starting, allow idling for a few seconds before putting your vehicle in gear to begin the proper oil flow and lubrication. Extended idles in modern vehicles only waste fuel, and won’t actually warm up the drive train components.
Simply drive normally for a few kilometers after starting, and consider switching to a synthetic oil, which is formulated to flow more easily in cold weather.
In winter weather, protecting your engine from damage in multiple cold temperature startups is incredibly important. Make sure you choose a synthetic, multi-viscosity oil formulated for these extreme conditions and supports engine starts as low as minus 31 to minus 35 degrees Celsius.
Low-viscosity, synthetic oils, such as Mobil 1™ Extended Performance, speed startup and reduce wear by flowing quickly to critical engine parts. Additionally, the use of lower viscosity oils improves fuel economy. For more information on synthetic oil, visit here.
Icy roads can be made even worse without the proper tires, so better to check tires early. First, check your tread, and be sure to rotate or replace tires that are worn down or weathered.
Also, make sure your tires are inflated properly, not over-inflated or under-inflated. This is an easy fix that many neglect to handle on their own. Tires inflated at a low-pressure will lead to quicker wear and decrease fuel efficiency in any weather condition. However, over-inflation may also reduce the proper traction in icy conditions.
FILTERS, COOLANT AND HOSES
As part of your routine maintenance, be sure to check (or have a mechanic check) all your filters, gas, oil, air and any soft or leaking hoses for potential replacement. Additionally, make sure your heater and window defrosters are in good working order before you’ll actually need them.
Your vehicle’s coolant and thermostat should also be checked – experts call for coolant change every two years, though extended-life coolants can last about five.
IT’S NICE TO DE-ICE
Before winter hits, go ahead and get some ice scrapers and de-icing gear. This is also the time to make sure your windshield wipers, front and rear defrosters are in good working order.
A de-icer spray for frozen locks can also be a life saver, as well as spray- traction aids in the event of a stuck vehicle and a small snow shovel. Many hardware and home stores sell bags of sand to give your vehicle extra trunk weight and traction, but can also be used on snow and ice for increased traction.
And, as your mom says, don’t forget a warm coat, hat, gloves, boots and a blanket in case you get stuck in the cold.