snow car in winter

Winter Car Care from Milex

As much as winter weather stresses you out, it can stress the vital systems in your car even more. Cold weather and the things we use to cope with it can increase the demands on your car’s engine, battery, gas lines, tires and windshield wipers. If you don’t regularly monitor the systems in your vehicle, you could end up stunned and stranded when the winter chill becomes too much. Here are the main systems to monitor to avoid a winter weather catastrophe.

Battery | Low winter temperatures can force your car’s electrical system to work harder while reducing its output at the same time. Cold weather can reduce a vehicle’s battery power by 50 percent, which can spell disaster — especially if you use common winter accessories such as the defroster, heating and windshield wipers. You should frequently check battery cables and clamps for fraying or corrosion, which can impact the battery’s power, or even kill it. A battery will typically last three to five years (and Murphy’s law says it will always die at the most inconvenient time for you), so if your battery is approaching old age, you might consider replacing it before its time runs out.

Engine | Cold can make your oil more viscous, which will create greater friction in the engine. If you live in a cold climate, you might want to use a lighter grade of oil in the winter to prevent unnecessary stress on your engine components. Take the opportunity of changing your oil to check on other fluids, like the antifreeze, as well as the fuel, air and transmission filters.

Gas lines | You should always keep at least a half-tank of gas, to prevent condensed moisture from freezing and blocking the flow of gas to your fuel lines. Keeping enough gas in the tank will also help in the event that you get stranded somewhere. As long as your car has enough battery power and gasoline to run, you can keep the heat on and keep yourself warm while you wait for help.

Tires | The cold can reduce the air pressure in your tires, which can make driving on icy roads dangerous. When your tires aren’t fully inflated, the middle of the tire’s surface becomes concave, reducing the surface area of the tire that actually comes into contact with the road. If you need to make a sharp turn or quick stop, you could lose control of your vehicle if your tires aren’t properly inflated. If your area experiences a lot of snow, now is the time to get snow tires that are specifically designed to maintain their grip on the roads during inclement weather.

Windshield Wipers | These tend to be an afterthought, but keeping your windshield wipers in good working order can help keep you on the road this winter. Snow and ice can destroy your wipers if you’re not careful, and hitting the road before your windshield is fully cleared is asking for trouble. Instead of rushing through your morning routine and setting off on your commute, make sure you take time to fully defrost and clean your windshields and windows, for your safety and that of pedestrians and other drivers.

No matter what the weather calls for, make sure you’re prepared. Take these precautions this winter to keep you and your family safe! For more information on how you can prepare your car for winter, visit your local Milex Complete Auto Care center.

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