Winter car maintenance is vital if you want to ensure that your car is safe to drive. Some of the maintenance work you can do on your own but for other tasks, you may need to request the help of a car mechanic.
1. Check your coolant
The first thing you should check is your coolant. Coolant gets diluted in time, making it more likely to freeze. There are special devices that can tell you at what temperatures your coolant freezes and based on that measurement you can add more coolant or a 50/50 mix.
2. Check your car battery
The battery is the second most important thing that you need to check as part of your winter car maintenance checklist. Colder temperatures slow down the reactions inside the battery and if your battery is already weak, it may even cause your engine to be unable to start. If you noticed that your engine is sluggish to start, your battery might need to be replaced. You should also have a technician check the health of your car battery.
3. Get winter tires
The next thing on your list should be tired. If you do not have winter tires, you should consider getting new ones. Driving with summer tires during the cold seasons is a bad idea. The rubber on summer tires hardens when temperatures get low, making them unable to maintain grip. Winter tires do not have this problem and they will make your car much safer to drive during the winter.
4. Check your brake fluid
Your winter car maintenance checklist should include a check on your brake fluid. Brake fluid can absorb water and if that happens, it can start to boil in the hose section close to the braking rotors. When the brake fluid boils, you will have gas or water vapors building up casing your brake pedal to have no effect or very little when pressed. In the winter, there is increased moisture and humidity in the atmosphere thus it makes sense to ensure that your brake fluid is in good condition in preparation for the winter.
5. Consider an oil change
An oil change is not mandatory, but it helps. As the oil gets worn out, it loses some of its properties. It is a well know fact that worn-out oil is much thicker at lower temperatures than fresh oil. What this means for your engine is that during the winter, old oil will do a much poorer job at lubricating the engine for the first couple of minutes. This means that there is more friction than usual until the oil heats up and becomes less viscous.
The five points mentioned above should be on your winter car maintenance checklist. You should still be prepared and have some winter supplies in your trunk. Consider getting a compact shovel, some sand or salt, a windshield scraper, and some silicone lubricant. You should use a lubricant on the doors to ensure that they don`t get jammed up with ice. Also, you may want to replace your windshield wipers if they are old as they will become hard and brittle.