Eight Winter Car Care Tips and Tricks

Junior Austin Herbert check his oil after his drive to school. He says how it is getting low, and once it gets too low the truck will start acting up.

Junior Austin Herbert check his oil after his drive to school. He says how it is getting low, and once it gets too low the truck will start acting up.

Tis’ the season for icy roads, snow storms, frozen temperatures, and car problems! As winter has finally arrived in Kalamazoo, so have the seasonal car complications, ranging from not being able to see in front of you to needing a tow. Winter is the harshest season on your car. Here are some tips and tricks to prevent any obstacle winter has to throw at you.

  1. Keep your gas tank above half full; this will help decrease the chances your car has of moisture forming in the gas lines and likely freezing. With gas prices being lower that $2.20 in Kalamazoo this winter season, take advantage of these prices and keep your gas above the suggested half fuel tick on your car.
  2. Check your tires weekly; they tend to lose pressure in low temperatures, especially in the negative digits which have been very common in the past few weeks. Your spares should be checked as well, since they can lose just as much pressure, if not more than the ones currently on your car. Also consider winter tires that have better tread to grip the winter slick roads in Kalamazoo, and have your tires rotated to keep the wear of the tires even in the front and the back.
  3. Make sure that your wipers function properly and that you have washer fluid more suited for the winter. In Kalamazoo specifically, you also want to consider winter wiper blades since we have considerably harsh winters.
  4. Have your exhaust system looked at for leaks of carbon monoxide. In the summer, we are able to have our windows down, relieving some of the fumes from the exhaust system, but in the winter, we don’t have the luxury to roll our windows down to eliminate some of those harmful gases seeping through the heating system.
  5. Change your oil to a more winter friendly one. The best way to do this is to change the weight of your oil. This winter, we have already been breaking temperatures set over a century ago with the arctic blast hitting us currently, so it is important to take into consideration the probability of thicker oil making it harder for the car to start. Switch to a lighter oil weight, like 5-W30 rather than a thicker oil such as 10-W30 that works better during the warmer seasons.
  6. Clean, flush and add new antifreeze in the cooling system. This is usually overlooked in the winter as a priority, but it’s just as important as the rest. In the winter, we use the heating system more than any other time in the year, and the antifreeze and cooling system helps the heating system to not overheat and break down, making it a very critical aspect to your car in the winter.
  7. Have your battery checked; winter is the hardest on your battery, especially with the frigid temperatures we’ve had lately. In the winter, we use more appliances such as more heat, more energy for our lights,etc., which causes us to use the battery more, and with the temperatures being so cold already, our batteries are already taking a hit. So have your battery and charging system checked out, especially if you are having trouble starting your car.
  8. Last but not least, plan for the worse and pack an emergency kit. The kits should include, candles, extra clothing, blankets, water, dry food snacks, flashlight and jumper cables. This will help you if you did have the unfortunate luck with a car break down, or can help you service someone else if they need help.

As winter is here to stay for six to nine weeks, keep yourself and your car ready for any winter weather conditions Michigan might throw at us. Drive safe everyone!