How to Winterize Your Car

Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, happened so fast!

It seems to happen overnight, in the blink of an eye, one minute you’re riding the waves on Martha’s Vineyard, the next, you’re replacing your tee-shirts with sweaters. As the days get shorter and the chill returns to the morning air, don’t overlook your car. Cars need a little extra attention in the form of preventative maintenance when the seasons change. It’s always a good habit to get into—and it just takes a little planning to winterize your car.

How to Winterize Your Car

Car Battery

There are three things that can have a major effect on your battery—extreme heat, extreme cold, and corrosion. Funny how the elements and time can contribute to your battery’s demise. The ideal battery voltage should be at a minimum of 12.6 volts.

Fluids

This is a must. Number one: fill your windshield washer fluid before the winter starts and stay vigilant about topping it off. Keep an extra gallon jug of windshield washer fluid in your trunk. The harsh precipitation and salt on the road can leave layers of sludge and crud on our windshield that can have an extreme impact on visibility. Additional fluids, it goes without saying, should be topped off and monitored carefully. These include transmission fluid and coolant. You can get all fluids flushed and topped off by a certified technician at a trusted service center.

Brakes

Test out the condition of your brakes, brake pads, discs and rotors at the onset of winter. When the slippery road conditions begin, we tend to rely on and use our brakes more often to avoid weather-related fender benders. When it comes to your brakes, it is best to not take chances and have them inspected and tested.

Windshield Wipers

It is recommended that you change your windshield wipers every six months to a year—sometimes more—depending on the extent of icy cold weather. Test yours to ensure they are not squeaking, streaking, or squealing.

How to Winterize Your Car

Interior and Exterior

We often think of the major things when we want to winterize our cars, but don’t forget to pay attention to your exterior paint. You’ll want to keep up with car washes and waxes during the harsh winter weather to preserve your paint and protect your car from rusting. Also inside, how is the heat and defrost working? You’ll want to make sure they are up to par and ready for battle on those cold winter morning commutes. Tip: Keep that ice scraper handy!

Tires

Last but certainly not least, your tires are one of the most important parts of your car to pay attention to prior to and during the winter. If you do a lot of winter driving on the hilly backroads, your car is a perfect candidate for snow tires. Another thing you can do is monitor your tire pressure. It is recommended you do this monthly. Many of the newer cars today have an automatic tire pressure monitor included in their safety features, which will definitely come in handy driving in Vermont. 

By taking these simple steps to winterize your car, you’re setting yourself up for a peaceful and joyous winter and holiday season. So on your way down to your local mechanic, stop off at the nearest coffee shop for your favorite pumpkin spice beverage.

Topics: Car Safety Tips

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