Here are 5 simple things to do to keep your vehicle running in tip-top shape during the fall and winter.
Test Your Battery At some point in middle school, we all learned that heat speeds up chemical reactions, and that cold slows them down. Therefore, it makes sense that cold weather in the fall and winter slows down the chemical reactions within your battery that generate its power. In fact, the Ideal Temperature for an automotive battery is 80 F (26.7 C).
For every degree the temperature outside drops, the battery efficiency decreases. If you don’t want to be left with a car that won’t start in the middle of winter, be sure to test your car battery and make sure it is optimal before the temperatures start to drop.
Regularly Check Your Tire Pressure Safe traction when driving in the winter is greatly affected by your tire pressure. Winter causes the pressure in your tires to drop, which impacts your traction, and safety when driving. To offset this, many vehicle manufacturers suggest inflating your tires 3-5 psi higher than the recommended inflation pressure.
Change Your Wiper Blades Having properly working windshield wipers are essential to maximizing the visibility in poor driving conditions. Before the first cold snap hits, be sure to inspect your wiper blades and make sure they are in good condition. Also, keep your wiper fluid topped up, using a variety that is optimized for colder temperatures.
Inspect Your Belts & Hoses Hose or fan belt malfunctions nearly always cause an emergency situation. As the temperature drops, this change makes the belts and hoses in your vehicle’s engine more susceptible to cracking or breaking. When inspecting your engine belts, look closely for cracks and uneven wear and tear. When inspecting the hoses, also look for cracking, bulging, or swelling and sponginess.
Change The Oil Oil provides critical lubrication the engine needs to run. Regular oil changes are an important part of basic vehicle maintenance, and doing one at the beginning of each season is good practice. Ever wonder what those numbers on your oil can even mean?? Well, they are the viscosity rating. The oil’s viscosity (meaning it’s resistance to flow) is rated at 0°F (represented with a “W” for Winter – i.e. “10W”) and at 212°F (i.e. “30”). 10W-30 motor oil has a lower viscosity when cold vs. hot than 20W-50 does. AKA: Motor oil thins as it heats and thickens as it cools. Keeping your engine oil fresh, topped up, and at the appropriate viscosity is an important part of preventing vehicle problems in the wintertime.