Winter isn’t coming, it is here. However, before the winter blues hit, OutCold made sure to prepare its fleet for freezing temps, icy roads, and whatever else mother nature had planned. Follow along, as we cover four of the best winter maintenance tips for your own vehicle, brought to you by one of our own car experts, Cliff Ewert, our Asset Fabrication Director.
1. Check your Battery
During the winter months, there is additional strain put on your battery from the increase use of lights, heater, and blower. The temperature also plays a huge roll in taxing your battery, and can strip away the cold cranking amps necessary to start your car. Have it load tested and replace as necessary.
2. Check your fluids
Motor oil thickens when cold, making it harder for the engine to turn over. Check the manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. Generally, you should be using multi-viscosity oil that has a "W" in the viscosity index, signifying that it's formulated for winter use. Typical formulas that are recommended for modern engines include 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30, which provide good oil flow at low temperatures and can often be used year-round. While the car is in the shop, have the radiator and heater hoses checked for cracks, leaks, or contamination from oil or grease. The hoses should be firm yet pliable when you squeeze them. Try to keep your coolant mixture in a 50/50 ratio of antifreeze to water. This will keep your coolant from freezing until temperatures are well below zero. Colder conditions, however, can call for a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio.
Fuel stabilizer should be added to vehicles that might sit for long periods. Anti-gel additive should be added to diesel vehicles. Use a block heater when possible for diesel vehicles as well.
Be sure your windshield washer fluid is rated for use in below freezing temperatures. Often times water-diluted fluid is sold in summer months, so if you haven’t changed or added in a while, it’s a good idea.
3. Check Your Tires
Tires are essential for driving and braking. Even more so, when conditions are not fair. During the winter months, you might want to opt for snow tires for increased grip. Either way, it’s a good time to check them since your pressure will decrease due to the change in temperature.
4. Go in for a quick Car Service check up!
Going in for a quick car service can save you thousands and in some cases, even be free. Check your area, but some garages offer free or discounted ‘winter car checks’.