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How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Hopefully, in our area, we don't get any weather like that in the photo above, but the weather is turning colder which means winter is just around the corner, which can be an enemy for our vehicles.  Cold temperatures, snow, sleet and ice can cause problems on how a car operates and drives on the road. Not having your car prepared for the winter can be potentially harmful to you, as well as others on the road.  So, if your car isn’t winterized yet, it’s time to get your car prepared.

Think about your battery. Freezing temperatures can reduce a battery’s operating power by up to 50 percent and during the winter, when you have the heat on, the defroster going and maybe the windshield wipers, you’ll want your car to be operating as well as possible. You’ll also want to keep track of your battery’s age, so that you don’t wind up stuck somewhere in the cold.  Batteries have a life span of no more than three to five years. If you are not sure and just want to get your battery health tested stop by Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission of Cary for FREE battery testing.

Monitor your fluids. You probably know that keeping your antifreeze/coolant mix at the appropriate levels to prevent the engine from freezing and reduce corrosion is important. A 50/50 mix will keep fluids from freezing at temperatures as low as -34 degrees. If you don’t have the right mix of coolant and antifreeze in your car during the winter, the fluids in your engine could freeze and crack parts of your engine block. You might consider using a lighter viscosity oil during the winter months if you live or plan to travel to colder climate. If you’re worried about any of this, and especially if you haven’t had your oil changed for a while, visit Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission of Cary. We’ll be glad to check if your oil needs changing and evaluate all of your fluids.

Keep your tank no less than half full. That’s never a bad idea, but in the winter, it’s especially important to keep your tank at least half full. That will decrease the chances of moisture from condensation freezing and blocking the flow of gas in the fuel lines.

Check your tires. It’s important to monitor your tires during the winter, because the colder air can cause the air inside the tires to contract which will cause a drop in tire pressure. If your tires are running with less air in them than normal, it can cause premature wear of the tread and reduce the traction of your car. Traction, of course, is very important if you’re driving on snow or ice. Your owner’s manual or a sticker in the driver’s door jamb will have recommended pressures for front and rear tires, and you can always fill up your tires at virtually any local gas station in the area.

Another bonus with keeping your tires properly inflated is you can save as much as 3% on your gas mileage.

Make sure you’re going to be able to see out the windshield. That is, have your ice scraper nearby and easily accessible. You’ll want to make sure your wiper blades are in proper working order and free of cracking or deterioration and make sure you have ample wiper fluid. Make sure your wiper fluid is actually windshield washer fluid and not water. Water in your washer system can freeze and crack components of the system.

And be sure to remind yourself that when it does get cold, and snow and ice ravage your car, you will need to wait for the windshield to defrost.  Although it takes some extra time to scrape the windshield or have it defrost, it is much safer than driving with only a limited view of the road.

Create a winter weather kit. Hopefully it never happens to you but the chances of having car trouble or being involved in an accident increases with wintery road conditions.  In the event this happens, you will want to have an emergency kit in place that includes a flashlight, jumper cables, cell phone charger, ice scrapper/snow brush, blanket, bottled water and dry food snacks. You may also want to put in the trunk a supply of salt, sand or kitty litter to spread on the ground to gain better traction on icy patches.

The winter puts a lot of stress on our cars.  Make sure you are taking the proper precautions to take care of your vehicle and stay safe on the roads this time of year. Make an appointment today at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission of Cary to get your winter vehicle preparations made so you will be Road Ready.

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CAR CARE

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