7 Ways to Winterize Your Car

Preparation for tomorrow is hard work today
— Bruce Lee

Winterize your Colorado Car

Regardless of if you are a 5’7” man readying yourself for a fight against Kareem Abdul Jabbar, or an Average Joe gearing up for a mountain winter, preparation is key to survival.  We’ve listed some quick and easy maintenance procedures to avoid winter’s frosty front-kick.  

1. Stay on top of tire maintenance

Icy and wet roads can cause dangerous accidents in the winter.  It's important to check that your tires are ready to handle winter conditions.  If your vehicle is equipped with regular tires, monitor the air pressure on each tire.  Improperly inflated tires can increase wear which significantly decreases traction, and increases the likelihood of sliding on icy patches.  

Many gas stations have the tools available for you to check your tire pressure, and it is inexpensive (or sometimes free!) to fill your tires with the right amount of air. Please consult your car’s owner's manual to find the suggested pounds per square inch for your car.

2. Check your battery

Automotive batteries generally last for three to five years, so it's best to keep track of your battery’s age. The best time to replace a battery is in the fall, when autoparts stores typically have sales. Cold temperatures slow the flow of electrons from automotive batteries and may not provide adequate charge to start your vehicle. Even if your battery isn't old, it is a good idea to inspect for corrosion and to use a volt-meter to ensure that the volt load will provide adequate power through the cold season.

3. Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid

Decreased visibility due to fog and snow can make driving in bad weather quite dangerous, so it's important to make sure the wiper blades are up to the challenge. Wiper blades are made out of rubber, and as they age they crack, split, and deteriorate at an accelerated rate in cold climates. Manufacturers suggest that wipers are replaced every 6 to twelve months. Keep your wiper fluid reservoir full  as fluid can assist in breaking up snow and ice on the windshield. This is easy to do yourself, and most gas stations sell fluid. Here is a quick tutorial in case you have never learned how to do this yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqTI6b5hrVo

4. Check your four-wheel drive

If you have Four-Wheel Drive (4WD), it can improve your vehicle’s traction on snow and ice from a stationary position. Please note however, that 4WD doesn't make your tires grip the pavement any better when you brake. Unless you’re an offroad enthusiast , the 4WD system is typically not used in the summer, so be sure to check that it engages properly before winter gets in full swing.

4WD varies depending on the vehicle, so check your car’s owner's manual for the best environment in which to use it and how to engage the system.

5. Check your antifreeze mixture

Antifreeze protects your engine from both freezing in cold weather, overheating on hot days, and decreases corrosion. It's important to keep equal parts antifreeze and water in your radiator. A ratio of 50:50 is considered the norm and will keep fluids from freezing at temperatures as low as -34 degrees Fahrenheit! You can buy pre-mixed bottles of antifreeze and water at gas stations so you won’t have to break out your measuring cups.

6. Change the oil and adjust the viscosity

Oil lubricates the metal surfaces of your engine and prevents them from grinding together, which causes a lot of damage. The viscosity - also known as thickness - of the oil will greatly affect your engine's performance. If the oil is too thick, it flows too slowly between parts and your engine can get too hot. Cold temperatures can cause oil to thicken, which can be overcome by filling your engine with lower viscosity oil. Please consult your owner's manual for the ideal type of oil to use. It may specifically suggest a thinner oil type depending on the season. We recommend that you change your oil every 3,000 miles or once every three months.

7. Stock your emergency car kit

Dangerous winter conditions can increase your chance of getting stuck somewhere you might not want to stay.  We like to keep these supplies in the car in order to assist in an emergency:

  • Bottles of engine oil
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • An ice scraper
  • Road salt
  • Jumper cables     

Visit our Pinterest for more ideas on how to keep your emergency car kit stocked and ready for this winter weather!

Stay Safe This Winter!

Check out our “Get Ready for Winter Special” to assist with your winterizing preparation! 

We hope you have a wonderful and safe winter driving season!

Cheers,

Colorado Engine