Cars are not merely tools for transportations. They are complicated machines that consist of countless moving parts which all need to work in tandem every time you turn the key. Still, each of these singular parts can be severely impacted by the weather. If you live in the area of the world where winter months tend to get particularly volatile, you need to take extra maintenance precautions when it comes to your car. Whether it’s the cold temperatures or incessant rainfall, here are some winter car maintenance essentials you have to pay attention to.
1. Prioritize taking care of your car battery
If the engine is the beating heart of the car, the car batteries are the liver. Either way you cut it, you cannot live without either of these essential organs. The car is pretty much the same in that regard and the car battery has the necessary juice that can really get impacted by winter weather. In fact, statistically speaking, breakdown calls increase by 50% during the winter with car batteries being the main cause in 40% of the cases.
This is why, when it comes to winter car maintenance, you have to prioritize taking care of your battery. Now, in all fairness, you should be prepared to invest some time when it comes to this element – taking care of the battery and the potential electrical issues that might tie into it take the most time. However, that pales in comparison when it comes to the time you’ll likely lose if the car breaks down.
Now, if your battery is working properly, you can do the maintenance all by yourself. Top it up with distilled water regularly and avoid using tap water! Ever! This way, you’ll make sure the cells don’t dry out. Green-looking corrosion should be wiped away promptly, as soon as you notice it, and if it solidified too much you can use distilled water and dissolve some baking soda (aluminum-free bicarbonate if possible) before soaking the mop in it and wiping the corrosion off.
2. Make sure the tyres are ready for the volatile weather
People tend to underestimate the importance of tyre maintenance and overestimate their robustness. One can be forgiven for thinking that tyres can go through anything since they roll over a variety of terrain and weather every day. However, tyres that are unused or incessantly barraged by fluctuating temperatures tend to deteriorate over time. It can be a very latent problem that suddenly blows up in your face – sometimes quite literally. If you are not prepared for such issues and stranded on the road, you can end up spending quite a dime on everything that follows.
Therefore, one should get educated on how to properly store extra tyres in summer and winter in the case something truly unpredictable happens. Of course, you can browse online for a plethora of advice or ask certified professional on how to approach this properly. All in all, spare tyres are mandatory, so have at least one prepared and packed in a specially designed tyre bag in the trunk of your car. In addition, you should probably have one or two extra tyres stored at home, in your garage or designated car shelter space.
3. Shelter is crucial
Now that we have mentioned proper storage of spare parts in your garage, we can proceed to address another essential winter car maintenance tip – shelter is crucial and you can’t go through the entire winter without it. If you do not own a garage at your own lot, you can rent the necessary space in a nearby communal garage area. If you cannot find one within a reasonable distance, you should definitely invest in creating at least a few wooden pillars with a roof, or a designated car-protection awning. In either case, you also have to purchase the cover that is designed to protect your car from weather-related damage as it is left idle.
4. Take care of the windscreen
Most car windscreens are designed to safely expand and contract according to extreme weather conditions, but cracked glass is not where the danger comes from. When it comes to maintaining your windscreen for the winter months, you have to pay extra attention to the wipers. If they are cracked or otherwise damaged, they will either be unable to wipe the glass or, worse, damage it as they do. This is why you should replace the old wiper rubbers with fresh ones both in the front and in the back before the winter begins, and check the reservoir bottle to see if the fluid level is sufficient.
Fortune favors those who are prepared, so take some time out of your busy schedule to prepare your car for the long winter. Even though most car users know about the importance of winter car maintenance, they generally have a tendency to postpone this obligation day by day until it gets too late. Cars can be extremely sensitive to humidity and extreme temperatures, so try to avoid going to the repair shop long after the winter has begun. The sooner you get into the habit of doing this, the more grateful your car will be – and it will be a perfectly serviceable, reliable vehicle for years on end.