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Winterizing your car

Winterizing your car

The cold, dark days of winter can be just as difficult for cars as they are for people. Driving conditions can be tougher, putting the engineering under more strain, and any problems lurking in a poorly prepared vehicle can suddenly surface to leave you stranded at the most inconvenient time.

 

Winterizing your car before the temperatures really plummet is essential, helping ensure that you see the spring thaw arrive without any drama in the meantime. Here are some of the most important things to take care of as soon as the leaves start to fall and the days grow shorter.

 

1) Interior Clean

 

Once the days are dark and filled with snow, cleaning your car's interior will probably be the last thing on your mind. Giving it a deep clean now will set things up so you only need minor work to keep your car neat and tidy over the next few months. And while you're vacuuming the interior, you might like to switch to weatherproof floor mats to keep the mess of mud and slush to a minimum.

 

2) Exterior Wash, Wax, and Polish

 

Now's also a good time to give the bodywork the full treatment with a wash, wax, and polish. Not only will this get rid of any summer dust or fall debris, but it'll provide an extra layer of protection against corrosive road salts and grit.

 

3) Check the Electrics

 

On a cold morning, when the car is started with all lights and heating on, the battery is put under much more strain than usual. Take the time now to check that it's still holding a good charge and isn't likely to suddenly fail. Also, check that windshield wipers, interior heating, and other electrical features are all working as they should.

 

4) Check the Lights

 

Also check that all headlights, taillights, signal lights, and emergency lights are working well, as they're an essential safety element in the winter gloom.

 

5) Fit Snow Tires

 

Unless you live an a mild area, snow tires are a vital safety feature. Once the temperature falls below around 5°C they provide better grip than regular tires, even if there isn't any snow or ice on the road surface. And once the first snow arrives, you won't be going anywhere if you've not yet made the switch.

 

6) Check Fluids and Antifreeze

 

Check all your car's fluids to make sure they're properly topped up, also making sure that your cooling system and windshield washer reservoir are properly treated with antifreeze. And at this point you might light to replace your engine oil with a winter-friendly synthetic formulation that gives greater protection in freezing temperatures.

 

7) Provide Winter Tools

 

Lastly, make sure you have a good supply of scrapers, deicer, snow gloves, brushes, and all the other tools you need to clear a sudden snowfall from your car to make it safely drivable.

 

Winterizing your car for the colder months only needs to be done once a year, and the small effort and time it takes gives you extra peace of mind that you're ready for the harshest weather to arrive.

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