Winter is almost around the corner. Is your car prepared for winter? In other words, is it winter-ready? A car ready for winter is one that can get you safely to and from your destinations through any winter conditions. Safety is paramount, but reliability is also important when preparing your car for winter. There are a few areas that need attention now and not later:
Antifreeze is what keeps the engine running cool. Most antifreeze are normally mixed with water in a 50/50 concentration. If this mixture is not correctly done when preparing your car for winter, your coolant could freeze when the temperature gets really low. Making sure you check the fill level of the coolant in your radiator and water content is a good way to start. You can also measure the specific gravity by purchasing a gauge at your local auto parts store.
The health of your battery is always significant, and it is even more important during the winter period. The components that make up your battery are always affected negatively by cold temperatures. Temperature changes cause the battery to work even harder, so it is important to make sure it is ready for the task ahead. But how can you tell if a battery is ready or not? Cranking Amps (CA) is the amount of current your battery provides for starting the car. This measurement is taken at 32ºF because it is the freezing temperature of water. However, Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is better because it is taken at 0ºF. This is a good measure and you need to ensure that your battery is generating enough CCA’s when preparing your car for winter. Another measurement is the Reserve Capacity (RC). The RC lets you know how much power is supplied by the battery without the alternator refilling it. Use both measurement rating when purchasing a new battery. If your battery does not measure up, it is time to get a new one.
Heater and Blower
The purpose of the Heater and Blower is to keep you nice and warm while driving or sitting in road traffic. Make sure that your heat works by checking the function of your heater control valve and turning the controls to “heat” when preparing your car for winter. Do this after the engine has fully warmed up. Is the air warm? If the engine is warm and your air is not, the heater control valve may have failed or may be stuck in a closed position. Check your blower fan to make sure that adequate air circulation is being created. If it is not working, check the fuse inside your fuse panel. Replace the fuse if necessary.
Your tires provide that necessary physical contact between you and the road. It is important to have proper tires installed for the winter weather. This could be the all-season or winter type tires. Your tires’ inflation levels should be checked regularly, and you should ensure that you have a minimum of 2/32 inch of tread. Also, do not forget to check your spare tire.
Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid
Windshield wipers are an easy and inexpensive fix. If your wipers are not in good shape for the winter season they will certainly reveal themselves when exposed. You can even find versions of wiper blades that are designed especially for winter. Be sure to also check and top off your washer fluid reservoir using the “antifreeze” types. They are designed to reduce the temperatures when driving in winter. There isn’t anything worse than gushing the washer fluid on the glass, and it freezes immediately, which further hinders your vision. You also need to make sure your washer fluid nozzles are not clogged. It is not going to be of any help if you have a full washer fluid reservoir, and the fluid cannot reach the glass. Do not forget your rear wiper if your vehicle is equipped with one when preparing your car for winter.
Preparing your car for winter may not be a biggie at first, but having your car ready requires a lot of attention to every little detail. With this small list drawn out, we hope you can get your car ready and never get stuck in any winter condition.