Winter is already upon us. With it come challenging driving conditions, severe weather and below freezing temperatures. It's a good idea to prepare your vehicle for the season ahead before it gets too cold. Many parts in your car act differently during the cold months. You want to make sure that your car doesn't break down or become hard to control. because you didn't get it ready for the chill. Winterizing your vehicle is an important part of maintaining it, and the professionals at Milex Complete Auto Care and Mr. Transmission would like to offer some tips for doing so.
Dealing with fluids and hoses
The one general component in your car or truck that is most directly affected by the winter months are the fluids. That includes your coolant, antifreeze, oil, transmission fluid and others. In some cases, these fluids will freeze or thicken, affecting the vehicle's ability to operate in the worst conditions. The end result is that some of these liquids could easily freeze in the wrong circumstance, causing the engine to seize up and stop running. You don't want that to happen while you're driving.
One of the things you'll want to do is change the oil. Regular motor oil is likely too thick for you to use, so you want to change it to something with a thinner viscosity. The lower the SAE grade, the thinner the viscosity. You may also want to look at oil that is marked with a "W" grade. These have been tested to work at colder temperatures.
Along with motor oil, you also want to make sure your vehicle's antifreeze is working and at the right levels, as well as adjust the coolant to water ratio to better handle the cold temperatures. Both of these are essential to keeping the engine running, and they can easily lose function if not taken care of. While this is all happening, check your belts and hoses, and replace them if they look worn out. The colder months can wear on these components particularly hard, causing them to snap or break. Finally, change both the windshield wipers and washer fluid. The rock salt used to de-ice the roads can do a number on your windshield and reduce visibility. Make sure that the fluid is able to manage the coldest temperatures, since it has the ability to freeze up. Replacing all these fluids can be done through a professional at a Milex or Mr. Transmission.
Keeping your vehicle on the road
Of course, there are also things you can do while on the road. If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, you likely didn't use it during warmer months. It's a good idea to run it normally before the snow hits to make sure it's functioning. With 4WD, you'll have better tire traction on the road and more power going into the wheels, which can minimize the chance of you getting stuck in the snow or sliding on the ice.
In the event that it gets so cold that the doors freeze shut, a good solution is to use warm water, pouring it on the handles and gaps between the doors. If you don't have access to that, some backup glycerine on hand can also do the trick.
More importantly, you should keep your fuel tank close to full at all times. In colder temperatures, water condensation can form in a tank that's less than half full. The water will likely drip down into the fuel lines and freeze there, blocking all gasoline from reaching the engine and stopping your car outright. The repairs needed to fix this problem can be costly. Through proper winterization, you can be sure that your vehicle will get through the winter months safely and easily.
For more auto care tips, visit the Mr. Transmission website!