With winter around the corner, it also means that the challenges of car ownership are forthcoming as well, like frigid streets, freezing temperatures and heavy dew. GoMechanic brings you 5 Winter Tips, your car needs right now.
There can be several problems to give you a headache during the cold months if you don’t properly winterize your car. Just as it’s necessary for us to put on a coat, sweater and gloves in cold, our cars need a similar kind of attention if they need to function at their best potential. Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches.
How can you make sure your car is well cared for during the difficult winter months? We’ve listed some simple car hacks that can ensure your car stays in great shape all season.
It’s often more difficult for a battery to operate in cold weather than in warm weather. As a result, a battery that’s merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter. Do check the battery cables and clamps for fraying or corrosion. If there’s a white, powdery substance around the clamps, that’s corrosion from battery acid. You can clean it off easily with baking soda, water and a toothbrush. But the only way to accurately detect a weak battery is with professional help.
It is advised to have a volt test performed on your battery before the season starts to make sure it’s still in good working order. If it isn’t, get your battery replaced ASAP from a service centre near you, so you’ll never have to worry about being stranded or left in a cold parking lot.
Coolant or antifreeze, is extremely important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Our mechanics recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water in their radiators, which usually results in a lower engine freezing point than with just coolant. So before the onset of winter, make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there are no leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out.
It’s incredibly crucial to keep track of your tire pressure as temperatures get colder. This is because tire pressure drops along with the air temperature, losing up to one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in air temperature.
Driving around with low tire pressure could mean premature tire wear or potential tread separation, which could lead to a major accident. Also, your steering and car control can be unpredictable with under-inflated tires. If your tires are low on air, fill them at a petrol pump and don’t forget to let out a little air as temperatures start to climb again in the spring.
Cold and constantly shifting temperatures can cause condensation on the walls of a fuel tank, and soon water will drip down into the gas. It will eventually sink to the bottom, since water is heavier than gas, and the bad news is if water finds its way into the fuel lines, it will freeze up, blocking any flow of gas to the engine and effectively halting your car from moving any further.
During winters, the reliability of a spark plug is dismal. A bad ignition component or clogged filter may cause your vehicle not to start.
Another common problem is Cold Start in which many people tend to leave the car on or rev while standing still to warm up the engine but cars these days are unsuitable for such idling. Instead, start driving at low RPMs and don’t rev hard while the engine is still cold and if your car stalls use professional help.