Most car owners know the importance of routine maintenance to keep their car or truck in good condition. While it is important to maintain your vehiclethroughout the year, special care should be given in winter months. The frigid temperatures that are common in certain locations require car owners to pay close attention to their car to avoid costly problems that are exacerbated in the winter.
Cold weather is hard on everyone and everything including your automobile. No one wants to experience car problems, especially not in the winter months when a break down is not just inconvenient but dangerous due to exposure to severe weather. Here are a five tips to help you avoid costly car problems in the cold winter months ahead.
Tires- Starting from the ground up, your tires are vital to your safety and can either help or hinder your cars overall performance. Properly inflated tires that are aligned correctly allow your engine to perform the work intended and save money on gasoline. Tire problems in the winter can lead to break downs or dangerous driving when conditions turn to the worse. Check the tread on your tires to ensure you have the best grip in snowy conditions. Also check tires for nicks or cuts which could lead to a slow leak. Don't forget to check the spare in the event you do have to change a tire in inclement weather.
Battery Care- There are few things harder on your battery than winter weather. Handling a battery incorrectly can cause mechanical problems as well as damage to your clothes, skin and other objects that come in contact with battery acid. For consumers who are not comfortable checking their car battery, contact a qualified mechanic to clean the surfaces, posts and cable connections. A dead battery in the middle of winter is not only dangerous but can lead to lost time at work plus the cost of towing your vehicle in the event it cannot be repaired at its current location.
Gas- Like everything else, running out of gas in the winter is much worse than doing so in warmer months. Keep your gas tank full whenever possible and do not let the gauge go below half. This not only ensures you will not run out of gas but also prevents moisture from forming which can cause mechanical problems. It is recommended that you add one bottle of fuel de-icer to your tank once monthly during the cold weather to prevent moisture from freezing your fuel line.
Keep it clean- Snow, ice, slush and mud wreak havoc on your cars interior and exterior surfaces. While it may seem like a never ending battle, it is worth your time and effort to try to keep your car as clean as possible on the inside and outside. Dirt, ice and material used to treat highways can build up and eat the paint off your car. Not to mention the damage to the carpets and other interior surfaces which reduces the value of your vehicle.
General- Either you or a trustworthy mechanic should check all vehicle systems to spot potential problems which can lead to break downs or bigger problems down the road. Windshield wipers, heating systems and defrosters should be checked to ensure they work when you need them most.
Maintaining your vehicle at all times is important to prevent minor problems from turning into expensive repairs. While each of these tips may not save you money immediately, by performing a fall/winter checkup you have the opportunity to catch problems before they turn into issues that are not only costly but dangerous.
P.S: You might also consider building an emergency kit for your vehicle!