Conquering the Chill: Winter Car Maintenance Must-Haves

January 31st, 2024 by

As winter deepens its grip, it’s time to ensure our cars and trucks are ready for their annual winter-ready maintenance routines to weather the rest of the season. Let’s review some helpful winter maintenance tips to keep our rides running smoothly.

Prepare Your Wiper Fluid for Winter-Ready Maintenance:

Swap your regular wiper fluid for a winterized blend during the winter months that won’t freeze in sub-zero temperatures. This ensures clear vision during snowstorms and sleet. Although winter wiper fluid is slightly more expensive, this blend resists freezing, ensuring clear vision during snowstorms.

Defrost Windows Wisely:

Don’t rely solely on your car’s defrost system, especially when starting with a heavily iced windshield. Use an ice scraper with rubber edges to avoid scratching your windshield with a de-icer spray. Depending on your area’s specific weather and temperature conditions, there are several types of scrapers to choose from: a classic rectangle, ice chipper, combo scraper/brush, and a mitt/glove scraper. Other options include a telescoping handle to reach windshields and the tops of cars; a squeegee edge to remove leftover slush and water; and a built-in de-icer dispenser.

However, avoid applying de-icer directly to thick ice. Instead, begin scraping away large, manageable chunks of ice and snow. Focus on clearing your windshields to ensure you have visibility. Once you’ve removed the main bulk of ice, identify the remaining areas with thin and stubborn ice patches. Spray a small amount directly onto the ice rather than the whole windshield.

Embrace the Shovel and Brush:

Keep a sturdy snow shovel and snow brush easily accessible in your car. Clear away all snow from your vehicle, including the roof, hood, and headlights, before driving. In some states including Pennsylvania, the law requires motorists to remove as much snow as possible to avoid snow flying off while driving.

Combat Salt Spray: A Crucial Element of Winter-Ready Maintenance:

While road salt is necessary, it can be corrosive and damaging to your car’s undercarriage and paintwork. A key part of winter-ready maintenance is to be ready to hit the car wash or have the necessary car-washing materials at home. Regularly wash your car to remove salt, paying extra attention to the wheel wells and under body. Consider a touch-less car wash to avoid scratches.

Boost Your Battery:

The frigid cold weather snaps can zap your battery’s power, especially If your battery is nearing its end-of-life. As part of your winter-ready maintenance checklist, If your battery hasn’t been changed in the last three to five years (depending on how much you drive), consider replacing it prior to the next storm. Or, if you’re unsure of your battery’s condition or age, consider getting your battery tested to ensure it’s ready for the rest of the winter season.

Tire Pressure Check: A Vital Component of Winter-Ready Maintenance

As part of your winter-ready maintenance routine, be sure to regularly check and adjust your tire pressure according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, including the spare tire. Most passenger cars will recommend 32 to 35 pound-force per square inch (PSI) in the tires when during the coldest months. Generally, you can find the PSI per your car on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb or in your car owner’s manual. Proper inflation improves handling and fuel efficiency especially in the winter weather.

Winter Gear Essentials:

Lastly, a critical step is to keep an emergency kit in your car stocked with blankets, jumper cables, a flashlight, non-perishable snacks, water, and a first-aid kit. Also consider keeping a small bag of sand or cat litter to put down under your tires if you get stuck in the snow. If you’re heading out during the bitter cold and there’s an anticipated snow storm on the rise, be sure to fill up your gas tank as well to keep your heat on and engine running to stay warm in the event you get stuck due to inclement weather or road closures.

During extreme winter weather events, stay informed about road closures and advisories. If possible, avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Remember, your safety is paramount!

Need advice or assistance checking your battery, windshield wipers, or tire pressure? At Jeff D’Ambrosio Service Center at Destination Downingtown, our technicians are here to help! Visit our website to inquire more about our services or to schedule a service appointment.

Posted in Car Care, Service