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Winter Car Care And Maintenance Tips

Sep 16, 2008
With the long cold days of winter about to start, you may be thinking that with nobody looking to travel long distances now is the time that both you and the car can rest. Guess again! Winter requires as much and perhaps even more car care than summer time because winter could just worsen whatever technical problem your car was showing in summer. The following tips will show you how to avoid some common winter problems.

Engine

Note down problems like stalling or difficult starts, less power, rough idling and try to get your hands dirty and fix them. Else, get a technician at a repair shop to look at them. These problems might well have existed during summer but winter always tends to make them worse.

Oil

It is important that during winter times, you use oil that can handle the cold weather and manage to flow quickly to critical engine parts, even during severe winter conditions. The frequency of oil changes will depend on the kind of driving you do in the winter - the Owner's Manual will suggest to you how often you need to change the oil for various driving types. Usually it is suggested that oil be changed every 3-5,000 miles.

Battery

It is again important to check on the battery. The battery's power comes down significantly in severe cold weather. This is made worse in older batteries. They tend to work fine in summer but fail as soon as the temperature drops. It is therefore essential that a technician check your battery, especially if it is at least four years old. Of course, despite all this it is better to be prepared at all times, with a set of good jumper cables. It might also be a good idea to have a portable power pack in the car, which can again be used in emergencies.

Heater/Defroster

A properly working heater/defroster not only helps passengers stay comfortable but also helps the driver's visibility, as to drive safely you need to be able to see clearly through the windshield. Keeping a full gas tank helps in being ready but also reduces the chances of any moisture forming in the lines that carry the fuel, which can freeze up and cause problems.

Tire Care

Maintaining proper inflation in tires during winter is also essential. During cold weather, air contracts and so air in the tires also contracts. Highly inflated tires will increase the wear and tear on tires and also increase the fuel consumption. On the other hand, under inflated tires will just reduce traction. You could also consider going in for special tires, which are designed to grip slippery roads when snow and ice can be a problem.

Lights and Wipers

Always make sure that lights are inspected regularly to ensure that bulbs can be lit and headlights be aimed properly. Also, even wiper blades have to be taken care of. Replace them regularly and even consider special snow blades if you are going to be driving in severe weather.

Warm Up

During winter, when you start the engine, just wait for a few seconds so that a proper flow of oil has been started and there is adequate lubrication before driving off. However, waiting for too long is also not good, as that will just waste gas.

Take care of your car for the winter and your car will ensure your safety even during the worst of winter.
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