How To Winterize A Car

Living in colder climates comes with a fair share of challenges.  There is the requirement to live in a house with strong insulation; the extra electricity bills to keep the house warm; the need for an entirely different wardrobe full of turtlenecks, long johns and wool socks; and then all the obligations that come with preparing a vehicle for the winter months.


With all these factors at play it is no surprise that some people do not prepare their car effectively for winter.  Depending on the climate, this oversight can have grave results.  There is no doubt that a 10 year old car will not do well in frigid temperatures – for one thing, the engine will struggle to start because motor oil will have thickened in the cold.


In the interest of helping car owners get through the winter unscathered, here is a list of things to do to winterize a vehicle:


●      Winter Tires Are A Must.  All season tires will simply not cut it when black ice is on all the roads.  Winter tires have tread patterns and rubber compounds that are designed to navigate safely over ice.  This traction will certainly come in handy more than once.

●      Check The Battery.  The battery will operate at half power in freezing conditions, so it’s important to make sure it is at full strength.  Check the fluid level in the battery by removing the plastic cap.  If there is any uncertainty about the strength of the battery do not hesitate to have it checked.

●      Use The Right Engine Oil.  As mentioned above, engine oil thickens in the cold.  Today it is normal for cars to use multi-weight oil that operates well in  heat and the cold.  However, it is recommended to switch to a grade of oil that is specifically designed to work in colder temperatures.  If extremely cold temperature is expected, there is always the option to purchase an engine block heater that can be installed in the engine and keeps the oil from expanding or freezing.

●      Double Check The Cooling System. The cooling system relies on rubber tubes to work effectively.  In colder weather these tubes can become brittle, or excessively soft, and stop performing up to par.  Check the hoses manually and replace them if they are either too firm or too soft.  It is wise to have the cooling checked every two years, so contact a garage if it’s been longer than that.  It is normal for carers to have a full check up at the garage once a year.  Mechanic shops in Longmont, CO offer great package deals that include winterizing maintenance with a standard oil change.

●      Let The Engine Warm Up.  Otherwise the oil will not warm up in time!


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