7 Ways to Protect Your Car from Cold Weather
You don’t have to be an expert to know that vehicles and cold winter months don’t quite go hand in hand. Cars are very complex machines that consist of dozens of mechanical and electrical components, all of which need to be in top-tier condition for the car to run smoothly. Extremely low temperatures are able to wreak havoc on both these systems. And we haven’t even mentioned the road salt that leaves permanent scars on the car’s body and undercarriage.
So, what can we do to protect our favourite four-wheelers from all these winter menaces? Actually, the list of preventive measures is quite comprehensive.
Pay attention to the battery
The battery is the heart that pumps life into your vehicle. Without it, the car is dead regardless of how well preserved the rest of the components may be. Well, the bad news is that car batteries discharge far faster during the winter months than throughout the rest of the year. The good news is that this problem can be mitigated by regular checkups, frequent recharges, and by taking good care of the terminals – components vital to good battery performance. Also, turning off the electrical accessories like radio, headlights and heaters can go a long way in preventing sudden battery failures.
Warm-up before hitting the road
When your car sits idle for too long in the cold weather (in this case, one night is too long), the oil that lubricates the mechanical parts of the engine loses viscosity. As a result, the frozen parts of the engine become too brittle and effectively run unlubricated until the oil reaches a good operating temperature. Because of that, you should give your car 3-5 five warm-up minutes to get the oil moving through the engine before hitting the road. Just be sure to check if the tailpipe is clear and open the garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Consider doing car detailing
When they leave the factory lines, the cars are treated with a primer and a clear coat finish that provide great protection against physical damage and elements. As time goes by, however, this finish degrades and leaves your four-wheeler prone to rust and oxidation. This problem is especially present during humid winter months when roads are covered in corrosive salt. One of the most efficient ways to get ahead of this is to treat your car with ceramic paint sealant that will create a strong protective layer and bring the ride close to its factory condition.
Ramp up your driving skills
Yeah, mastering the driving skills lowers the pressure you are putting on the vehicle and, as a result, allows it to last longer. For instance, when the snows start falling, braking distances become much longer. Inexperienced drivers solve this problem by trashing the brake pedal. What you should do instead is to manage the momentum and optimize the speed to current road conditions. Also, always avoid driving through deep snow – who knows what kind of obstacles may be hiding underneath. Even if there is none, the undercarriage will pick up a fair share of corrosive road salt.
Choose the season-appropriate tires
After all, the tires are what keep your vehicle stuck to the ground. If you want to keep the car in one piece, you better make sure you have the tires suitable for your vehicle and the road conditions you are going to deal with. And the road conditions will be as bad as they get. Because of that, as soon as the temperatures drop below 46 °F (7 °C), replace the stock tires with deep-tread winter alternatives that are far more suitable to the slippery, wet ground. If your area doesn’t experience heavy snows and sleets, you can also get away with all-season variety.
Wash the car regularly
We have already mentioned the dangers of accumulated road salt. Regular and thorough cleaning (we are counting the undercarriage here as well) should keep these perils at bay. But, the importance of washing the car during winter goes far beyond the simple danger of corrosion. Regular maintenance protects the tires, improves the efficiency of headlights, windshield mirrors, and back-up cameras, and relieves exhaust lines. All these things have a tremendous impact on the performance and safety of one vehicle. The more thorough you are, the better.
Manage the interior temperature
And you will do that by turning on the good old air-conditioning. Now, why would you use the AC unit in the middle of December? You see, the air in the enclosed cabin tends to become very humid. One of the most immediate consequences of this is the fogging you often experience while driving. The second problem is that this humid air stays trapped in the vehicle when you leave the car and damages the interior. Well, the short AC bursts are the best dehumidifying you can hope for during winter.
We hope these few tips gave you some general idea about the ways you can protect your car during cold months. Winter is a season that is, for a number of reasons, especially taxing to all kinds of vehicles. That is a fact of life. What we do about it is what makes the difference. Now, you know where to start.