Winter is here. Here’s what to do to keep your vehicle safe.
Even in mild winter climes, you need to give your car a once-over so, at the very least, you’re not stuck without an ice scraper on the first frosty morning.
Navigating Winter Weather
We all know that allowing for more travel time during inclement weather is crucial to not stressing in the snow. But, there are some additional things you can do before you ease yourself behind the wheel, making contact with your cold car seats on the first below-freezing day of winter.
Winter and Your Windshield
Fix windshield cracks before the cold weather hits. The drastic fluctuations in temperature can cause existing cracks to spread, which is not only a safety concern but really inconvenient. Check your insurance for car repair deductibles; sometimes you can get your windshield repaired or replaced for just a small fee.
Winterize your windshield washer fluid with a solution that contains anti-freeze. Be sure that after you’ve scraped all the ice off your windows you have the right wiper fluid to clear grime without running the risk of the cleaner freezing.
Speaking of windshields, whatever you’re doing right now, stop and check your vehicle for an ice scraper. Your friends at Master Muffler don’t want to think that tomorrow morning when you head out to your car and find it encased in a layer of ice you end up using the rim of a cup left in your backseat to remove ice from your windows. And just a reminder, never use your windshield wipers as ice scrapers! Even winter-rated wipers aren’t cut out for that task.
It may seem like a waste to get your car washed when inclement weather is continuously hitting, but it’s actually a prime time for regular sudsing. Road salt can put extra wear on your vehicle’s paint job, as well as the undercarriage. To avoid premature rusting due to salt, be sure to get your car washed regularly during the winter months, and spring for the rise underneath your vehicle.
After a good wash, apply wax to the body of your vehicle to add an extra layer of protection to the paint. It will not only deter salt and grime build-up but can act like sunscreen for your paint job. You may need to wax your vehicle just once a month if you have covered parking available and you don’t drive much during the winter.
Not only do you want to have the right motor oil during the cold months, but you might want to lubricate some other parts of your vehicle as well. When rubber is exposed to cold temperatures and water runoff during winter, it can be prone to cracking. Also, window tracks can freeze when water makes its way off the roof and down your car doors. Lubricate window tracks and rubber seals to keep them working their best during winter. While you’re at it, lubricate all the hinges of your vehicle so that when you do crack the ice that covers your car like a candy shell every morning, you can easily pop open your doors and trunk.
Check the Tires
Don’t let bald tires drive you to need expensive Bountiful car repair this season. Treads are crucial to safer winter driving, as they offer traction when the road conditions are slushy or slick. Be sure the treads on your tires aren’t worn down or, better yet, change your all-season tires out for a winter-rated set. You can go studded or stud-free, depending on the weather conditions where you live. Be sure that if you do opt for studded winter tires, you’re only driving on them during the permissible window in your area. For example, some states only allow for the use of studded tires from October through May.
Temperature fluctuations can cause uneven tire pressure throughout the winter, so periodically pull out the tire gauge to see if you have the proper PSI in each tire. As always, if this is something you’re not sure how to do, you can make an appointment with our Bountiful car repair crew for a tire check-up, including rotations and alignments.
Roadside Survival Kit
Even with all your careful winter car prep, you might find yourself stuck on the side of the road. If that’s the case, be prepared with a roadside survival kit. Year-round you should have some emergency essentials stashed in your vehicle, including:
- Jumper cables
- Portable jump starter
- Extra chargers/battery packs
- Basic first aid kit
In winter, be sure you also have a shovel to dig yourself out of snowbanks, and kitty litter to pour under your tires if you need extra traction on ice.
The Bountiful car repair experts at Master Muffler hope you’ll drive safely this winter. We only want to see you for routine maintenance if possible, so do your best to navigate winter roads with caution.