As frigid temperatures around most of the country whisked out last year and welcomed in 2018, we are reminded of the importance of taking care of our cars in these freezing conditions. Just as you might have made the resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle, pledge your loyalty to your vehicle this new year with routine maintenance and these need-to-know winter car care tips from Milex Complete Auto Care.
Coolant, which is a mixture of antifreeze and water, is extremely important as it keeps your vehicle's engine from freezing in cold temperatures and reduces corrosion. It is recommended that coolant be flushed and refilled every two years, but this may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Be sure to check coolant levels and examine your engine for potential leaks early in the season. Remember, a 50/50 blend of antifreeze and water has a lower freezing point than full-strength antifreeze, making it safer during winter months.
Tire pressure is known to decrease with drops in temperature, which is why it is so important to break out the gauge and check your pressure frequently. Roughly one pound of pressure is lost per every 10-degree drop in temperature! At best, an underinflated tire can lead to poor gas mileage. At worst, it may cause a tire blowout and contribute to an accident. If snowy conditions are a constant in your life, you may want to invest in specialty tires too.
Gasoline and Oil
Keep your gas tanks at least half full during the winter months, as it prevents water from freezing inside your fuel pump and is generally a good idea in case of emergencies. Cold temperatures make motor oil thicker and creates unwanted friction in the engine. Consider using a lighter grade of oil in the winter months if you live in a cold climate. Change your vehicle’s oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and use the recommended oil viscosity range for these chilly winter months.
Winter weather sure does pack a punch when it comes to your car’s battery, especially if your vehicle is parked outside. Whenever you can, park your vehicle under a covered carport or in a garage to protect it from howling winds and cold air. Winter temperatures cause a car’s electrical system to work harder, particularly with the increased power demands of heating systems, defrosters and windshield wipers. Dirt, corrosion and debris can cause your battery to work harder, so keep an eye out and ensure things are tidy under the hood. We recommend having your battery checked or replaced if it is approaching the end of its life (about three years) before winter strikes.
As we hit the peak of winter’s ice-cold temperatures, be sure to follow these important car care tips and remember to visit the experts at Milex Complete Auto Care to handle anything winter weather may throw your way!