6 Car Maintenance Tips Getting Ready for Cold Weather
Dan Levenson October 06, 2021
Autumn is an important time of year for drivers. As the weather changes, so do the road conditions and the performance of your vehicle. Now is a great time to rebuild your cold-weather car habits and build your winter car maintenance routine. Anyone who lives somewhere that drops below freezing during the cold months has reason to take special care of their vehicle and driving behaviors when the roads are icy and engines get cold.
1) Have Your Vehicle Inspected
Early in the season, have your vehicle inspected and repair any small items that are wearing out or malfunctioning. Work with a mechanic you trust to get the full picture of what’s up with your car. Then privately consult on any smart updates you can make at the time to better prepare your vehicle for the winter. If you switch to snow-ready tires or need winter undercarriage shielding, now is the time to have that taken care of.
2) Kick the Tires in the Morning
When you get up in the morning, pay attention to your tires. Tires can puncture unnoticed and flatten overnight or become deflated in the cold weather. Give your tires a kick each morning and keep up with air top-ups as needed. Just remember that in the winter, tires expand as they warm up on the road, so don’t over-fill cold tires. You may want to check your tire pressure while getting gas a few miles down the road as well.
3) Check the Oil Dip-Stick
Don’t let your oil get too low in the winter. You don’t have to DIY a whole oil change, just keep an eye on the dip-stick. Find your oil dip-stick and check it at least once a month. If the level of the oil is to far below the ‘dot’, you can top up a little with oil at home. If the oil has become dark, consider an oil change in the near future.
4) Plug Your Block Heater Into a Timed Smart Outlet
Block heaters are among the best ways to ensure your car’s engine will start on a chilly morning, but timing can be tricky. Some engines and heaters need two hours to warm up together, but it’s advised not to leave your block heater plugged in for more than four hours. Two hours is too long to wait before work, but four hours is not long enough for a full night’s sleep. The solution? A smart outlet with a timer.
Plug your block heater into a smart switch outlet, but turn the outlet off. Then set up a timer in your smart home app to turn the switch on three to four hours before you usually leave for your commute. You get a safe garage and a warm engine with little effort.
5) Swap Your Seasonal Wiper Fluid
If your region freezes, don’t forget to switch out for non-freezing wiper fluid. The last thing that you and your wiper blades need is wiper fluid that immediately crystallized into ice on the cold outside of your windshield. Winter wiper fluid has more alcohol in it, making it both highly evaporative and unable to freeze in cold temperatures.
6) Check Your Headlights
Finally, keep an eye on your headlights. Try to take notice if they are going dim or if one headlight goes out. Most car models make it possible to change out a new headlight in the comfort of your garage. Simply order a replacement (we recommend replacing in pairs, even if only one headlight is out) and swap the lights by reaching into the front of your car hood.
Car maintenance is essential during the cold weather months. Are you and your vehicle ready for icy roads and cold mornings? To keep your car safe check out the latest in insurance quotes and products by contacting us now.