Harsh winter weather calls for smart car care. Here are a few things you can do to help protect your used car, and yourself, in the midst of winter.
- Check tire pressure weekly. Did you know your tires lose a pound of pressure with every 10-degree drop in temperature? Driving on underinflated tires can cause them to wear down quickly and lose traction on icy or slippery surfaces.
- Keep your fuel tank half full. Don’t ride around in the cold weather with a tank close to empty! During the winter, it’s a good idea to keep at least half a tank of fuel in the vehicle in the event of an emergency or if you get stuck and need to wait for rescue.
- Check your battery and replace it if needed. Batteries typically last 3-5 years and wintertime can be especially hard on your battery. If your battery is more than five years old, you can have it professionally tested at a service station, auto parts store, or repair shop. Worst case, be sure you know how to jump-start your car!
- Add a protective layer. A coat of polymer wax can help create a shield from road salt, grime, snow, and sleet. Be sure to also regularly wash your car in the winter to protect your paint and keep your windshield clear.
- Protect your windshield wipers – or get new ones. If you park outdoors, leave your wipers in the raised position to prevent them from freezing to the windshield. Also, never use your wiper blades to remove ice, snow, or frost from the windshield – use an ice scraper instead! And consider buying new wipers. Most wipers actually start to lose their effectiveness in as little as six months. If you notice streaks, thuds, or unwiped expanses of glass, it’s probably time to get a new set.
- Check your heater / defrost. Make sure both systems are working properly. To help prevent your windshield from fogging up, run the air conditioning system at first to dehumidify the air.
- Finally, check that all of your vehicle’s lights are working properly and that your headlights are clean! It gets dark early in the winter and bad weather can further decrease visibility.
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