It has been especially chilly already this Winter, and you aren’t be alone if you’re worried about what the freezing temperatures could do to your vehicle. To prevent a breakdown from souring your holiday cheer, here are a few cold weather car care tips.
Your tires are the only parts of your vehicle that actually touch the ground, so they need to be in top-notch shape to keep you safe.
For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, the air pressure in your tires decreases by about a pound. If you haven’t checked your tire pressure in a month or two, it’s probably low. The proper amount of pressure, expressed in pounds per square inch (PSI), will be listed in your vehicle’s owner manual and on a label in the driver’s doorjamb.
Keep the pressure up to prevent excessive wear on your tires and suspension components. Tires with the proper amount of pressure and tread will ensure good traction in wet conditions, reduce the odds of a blowout, and give you better gas mileage.
Once a month, also inspect your tires for cracks, missing chunks, embedded debris and other signs of a potential problem. And, have your tires rotated in accordance with your owner’s manual.
When the white stuff hits, you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of the green stuff. Antifreeze can be tricky, because even though it may still have a strong green color, the additives could be worn out. This can cause your radiator to rust and if you’re a driver who “just adds water” when the level is down, your coolant mixture may no longer be able to withstand freezing temperatures.
It’s a good idea to replace your antifreeze every two years. If you’re not sure when it was last changed you can easily check its freeze point with an antifreeze tester, which typically cost about five dollars at any auto parts store. You can also have it checked here at Grease Monkey where our testers are more accurate and reliable.
When it is time to replace your antifreeze, come down and see us for a radiator flush and fill. To round out your cooling system checklist we will make sure that your water pump and thermostat works, check for cracks and leaks, replace your radiator cap, and test your heater and defroster.
Another way to help your car start up and run smoothly in these bone-chilling temperatures is to change the grade of your oil. Use the lowest grade your owner’s manual recommends for the best all-weather protection and fuel efficiency. For most cars, the optimal grade of regular oil is 5W-30.
You can also add a synthetic blend motor oil to your vehicle this winter. A synthetic oil will make starting a cold engine much easier by resisting build up of cold temperature sludge, even in sub-zero temperatures. Ask us about our December specials on synthetic oil!
Being stranded with a dead battery in the cold weather is no way to end a festive evening of celebrating. Prevent untimely disasters by making sure your battery is in good condition. First, make sure the terminals are clean and tightened. If your battery is more than three or four years old, or you suspect it won’t survive the winter, have a trained professional check it out. When it’s time to replace your battery, find one with more starting power and higher cold cranking amps.
Breakdowns can really put a damper on a happy holiday season, so take the time to ensure your vehicle is in top condition and be prepared for emergency situations. Before you go dashing through the snow, stock your vehicle with:
- Jumper cables
- Rock salt
- An ice scraper
- A can of aerosol tire inflator
- A blanket
- A Flashlight
- Water and first aid kit
- And if possible, an emergency cell phone charger that uses an alternative energy source. This way, you vehicle will be the only thing that loses it’s battery.
The expert auto technicians at Grease Monkey are here to help! Drop by the shop to prepare your vehicle for more bitter cold weather– no appointment necessary!