Winter Weather Safety and Maintenance Tips
As we descend into the season of treacherous road conditions, Apple Chevrolet would like to take this opportunity to recommend some routine techniques that will help keep your car in shape for winter and ensure your personal safety. Here are our cold-weather car tips:
– Check your windshield wipers. If the wipers are leaving streaks of water behind or if the wiper-blade rubber shows signs of cracking or stiffness, replace them with a new set. Use a brush and a scraper to remove ice and snow from the windshield instead of your wipers. To keep your blades from sticking to the glass, lift them up and leave them before an overnight snow.
– Check the levels in your windshield washer reservoir. With dirt, mud and salt residue being kicked up off the road it’s likely you’ll be using more washer fluid than usual. Make sure you’re using washer solution that contains an antifreeze agent!
– Check your lights to make sure they’re working properly and are clear of snow and ice. Not only do you want to make sure you can see other vehicles on the road at night – you want to make sure they can see you too.
– Ice (especially black ice) leads to countless accidents, injuries, and even deaths each year. It’s a good idea to replace summer or all-season tires with a set of winter tires which have tread patterns and rubber compounds specially designed for optimal traction on icy roads. The tread may be shorter and the road noise may be louder but it’s a small price to pay for the extra safety.
– If you switch to winter tires, look into having them mounted on steel wheels. It’s an inexpensive modification and it’ll make it easier to switch between the two sets of tires. It will also save your more expensive alloy wheels from the damage of harsh winter conditions.
– Depending on how bad weather conditions are, you may also consider studded snow tires or even tire chains. Make sure they’re legal in your area first before making the investment.
Under the Hood
– Did you know that cold temperatures can reduce your battery’s cranking power? At about zero degrees Fahrenheit, your battery only has about half the power it has at 80 degrees! Make sure it’s in good condition by removing the plastic caps on top of the battery and checking the fluid level. If the level is low, add distilled water. If you have a maintenance-free battery, check that the window on top of the battery indicates a full-charged state. If it isn’t fully-charged have the battery professionally tested at Apple Chevrolet.
– Engine oil turns thick when it’s cold out, making it harder for your engine to turn over. To prevent this, you can install an engine block heater. Simply plug the heater into an electrical outlet and it will keep the oil from thickening.
– Check your radiator and heater hoses for cracking, leaking or contamination from oil or grease. Cold temperatures can cause rubber parts to become brittle and fail so check that they’re firm yet pliable and replace them if they feel too soft.
Outside Your Car
– Lubricate your locks with silicone spray or door-lock lubricant to prevent them from freezing.
– Give your car a fresh coat of wax to protect it from dirt and road salt.
– Have your wheel wells and underbody washed regularly to prevent build-up. If you have alloy wheels, apply a coat of wax to them as well to prevent pitting and corrosion.
Overwhelmed? Apple Chevrolet is here to take care of all this and more so that you can drive with peace of mind this winter. Visit our service department today and find out how we can help you.