How to protect your car in the winter

How to protect your car in the winter

Here are some best practices to adopt when it comes to taking care of your car this winter, even if you had it fully serviced before the cold arrived.

Body

A car’s body is the part most exposed to the elements and so deserves special attention and care.

Pick up a scratch-free snow brush (foam) to avoid damaging the paint job.

Road salt used on icy streets and highways promotes corrosion and wear. Regularly wash your car to remove all the salt, dirt and frost that sticks to it and can cause damage.

Avoid parking in a heated garage. Snow, indoor humidity and road salt are the perfect mix for rust formation.

If you need some auto body repairs in the winter, apply a new rust-proofing treatment to the affected area, even if your car received a rust-proofing treatment in the fall.

Windshield wipers

Avoid damaging your windshield wipers: don’t use a snow brush to bang away ice that forms along the bottom of the blades.

Using hot water to melt ice on the wipers faster may cause the windshield to crack. Don’t attempt this even if you are in a rush. Why not give yourself more time by getting up a little earlier?

And no matter what you do, don’t turn the wipers on if they are stuck to the windshield! Besides damaging the blades, you could blow the wiper motor.

So, what should you do? Wait for the front and rear defrosters to do their job!

Mechanics

In extremely cold weather, motor oil and other lubricants thicken and do not circulate as well.

Before hitting the road, let the engine warm up so that the oil becomes more fluid. This will prevent wear and tear on the engine’s moving parts.

Cursed potholes are a culprit that can cause serious damage to a car during the winter’s freeze-thaw cycle: steering, suspension and tires are the most commonly affected.

Slow down on slick or messy streets and keep an eagle eye on the road to avoid driving right over one of those dastardly holes.

Battery

Does your battery seem to get weaker? Does your car not start as well, even in milder temperatures?

Test your battery and replace it, if necessary.

No need to tempt fate when you can do something about it.

Tires

Regularly check tire pressure because underinflated tires:

  • Wear out faster
  • Cause unstable handling
  • Adhere less well to the pavement
  • Lengthen the braking distance

Tire pressure decreases by one pound for every 6oC drop in temperature from the temperature at which the tire was inflated.

Gas

Whenever the fuel tank is running low on gas, condensation may occur.

The result? The water could freeze and clog the fuel filter; bacteria in the water could also plug it up.

The outcome? A car with a full tank that can’t start.

Make sure the tank stays relatively full at all times, especially if meteorologists are predicting a cold snap.

Have a great winter!