washing car in winterWinter weather places significant strain on your vehicle, from cold temperatures affecting its parts to icy roads that reduce traction and salt inviting rust. To prepare your car for winter and get through the season, consider the following tips.

Don’t Ignore Your Lights

During a snowstorm, the lights on your car help you see ahead through the precipitation and allow others to see you better. The sun also sets earlier in the day this time of year, resulting in you driving home from work or running errands in darker conditions.

Considering these factors, it’s recommended to check your headlights and taillights at the start of the season. Also have the housing replaced or restored if it “fogs” or has developed a yellow appearance. As you’re cleaning snow off your car, fully remove any buildup from the front, back and around the lights to improve visibility.

Test the Battery

Car batteries drain quicker in cold weather, making them less likely to hold a charge this time of year. Drivers should have their battery performance tested and check for factors like corrosion. Also take your car out for regular drives to power the alternator and charge the battery. If your car has gone more than five years without having its battery changed, consider a replacement.

Coolant and Other Fluids

Coolant or antifreeze is crucial for your engine’s performance in winter. Check the coolant to make sure it’s not low or experiencing decreased quality. At this point, you may want to have the fluid topped off or the system flushed. Further consider having the cooling system checked for leaks, which could be contributing to increased fluid consumption.

Beyond coolant, don’t forget about the rest of your car’s fluids:

  • Make sure the windshield washer fluid reservoir is full, especially for cleaning ice and snow buildup from your windows as you drive.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full to prevent water from accumulating and freezing in the fuel pump.
  • Continue checking your oil to make sure the engine has a sufficient, clean supply to run properly.

Regularly Wash Your Car

New England winters regularly expose your car to dirty slush and rock salt. Washing helps dislodge any deposits to decrease chances of rusting. Aside from the exterior, pay attention to area around the tires and front grille. Once you’re done, get your vehicle waxed and ideally rustproofed.

Check Your Wipers

Generally, it’s a good idea to assess the performance of your windshield wipers every six months. Look for cracks and how well they move away fluid.

Examine Your Tires

The tires are your car’s contact point with the road. Worn-down treads and over-inflation increase risks of a blowout or sliding on an icy surface. As such:

  • Consider adding a set of snow tires, which have greater grip for improved control on cold, icy pavement.
  • Check the tire pressure. While overinflated tires risk a blowout, underinflation can cause treads to separate and accelerate wear. A tire’s PSI decreases one pound per square inch for every 10-degree temperature drop, which further impacts how the car handles.

Check the Heater and Defroster

To improve visibility and keep you warm, check your car’s climate control system and defroster. You should feel the heat come on with ease and be able to defog and defrost your windows. If you notice any issues, consider scheduling a maintenance appointment.
If you still have yet to replace fluids, rustproof and wax your vehicle, or have crucial systems examined, make an appointment with DaSilva’s Auto Body. Contact our Naugatuck shop today.