Now that the temperatures are dropping, you may start worrying about your vehicle. Winter is arguably the worst time to have problems with your car, and also the harshest season for your vehicle. Cold temperature and icy weather can spell disaster, so what can you do? The first step is to be informed about what winter can mean for your engine.
Winter and Your Engine
Some preventative and informed awareness can help you to survive the winter weather with a happy and healthy engine. Read each section and then check your own car for winter prep.
Battery: If you can’t remember the last time you changed your battery, it might be a good idea to do that now before you find yourself with a dead battery in a frozen parking lot. Check for corrosion or loose connections if you aren’t in the market for a new battery.
Fluids: Antifreeze is the most important feature in your winter engine, because it will help any liquids from freezing and expanding to crack your radiator. Top off your antifreeze and oil while you’re at it. It’s not a bad idea to add an oil additive to help your engine’s oil coat more completely and reduce friction in a cold engine. Don’t forget washer fluid while you’re filling up fluids in the engine.
Temperature Gauge: Do you know where your temperature indicator is located on your dashboard? You need to know where it is and what it means. Your car should take 5-15 minutes of running to reach the middle “safe” temperatures. If it isn’t reaching that in the cold weather then you may have a problem or leak.
Don’t Idle: In decades past it was considered good practice to let your car idle for 5 minutes in your driveway to warm up so that your engine didn’t work as hard to reach a normal temperature. Today’s car’s are much more efficient, so idling is actually bad for the environment and the engine. Instead, you can remote start your car a few minutes early just to get seat-warmers and heat going, but driving your car is the best way to warm it up. Just take it easy – no drag racing down the street on an ice cold engine.
Check Up: It’s smart to get a check up or oil change on your engine before the holidays make things hectic. The older your car, the more need you’ll have for a checkup.
Winter can be hard on your car and your car’s engine, so show it a little love this holiday season.