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4 Essential Ways to Winterize Your Car

fallcarcareHaving a breakdown is never welcome experience, but in winter’s freezing temps, it can prove downright dangerous. That’s why an ounce of preventive maintenance in the Fall can translate to worry free driving all winter. Here are four things to consider as we head into the chillier season:

1) Engine Oil: Because outside temperatures affect the temperature of your vehicle, switching to a thinner-grade oil may help your car start more smoothly in the winter. Oil that’s too thick can prevent your engine from starting properly in cold weather since the high viscosity taxes your battery and starter motor to spin the engine fast enough to fire. If you typically use 10W-30 in the summer, you might consider changing to 5W-30 in the fall/winter. Check your owner’s manual and choose oil viscosity accordingly.

2) Battery: Temperatures at or near freezing also reduce battery capacity so it’s a good idea to check your level of charge. To do this, turn off the engine and use a hydrometer to read the voltage remaining in the battery. Some batteries come with a built in hydrometer eye that allows to you see the charge without the necessity of using a handheld unit. If you find you need to shop for a new battery, be sure to check the manufacture date to be sure it is less than six months old.

3) Windshield Wiper Fluid: If you’ve ever been passed on the road by a car splaying dirt-laden road snow and salt on your windshield, you recognize the value of having a good windshield washer fluid. Products that contain an antifreeze solution are particularly effective in the winter months, but be sure to check that it won’t be hard on your vehicle’s paint job as some windshield treatments can be caustic.

4) Emergency Kit: Be sure to update your vehicle’s emergency kit with winter-specific necessities such as:
– Blankets
– Ice scraper with brush
– Snow shovel
– Bag of salt/cat litter or traction mats
– Boots

For more great #Fall car care tips go to http://www.carcare.org/.