Winter is a difficult time for drivers, especially when they are not prepared to face it. Fortunately, though, it is also predictable; you can easily foresee most of the difficulties you are likely to face when it gets cold and snowy. It only takes a bit of time and money to prepare your car for winter; do this and you will be able to enjoy driving winter roads without any issues.
How to prepare your car for winter on your own:
Actions to be taken to prepare the car for winter can be divided into two groups: those which you are able to perform on your own, and those you will need a mechanic for. Luckily, you are able to do most of them on your own!
- Change wiper blades – winter means snow, sleet and roads covered with half-frozen mud. Your wipers will be used more often and they will have to perform well despite the harsh conditions. Replacing the blades before winter is definitely a good investment.
- Switch to winter windshield washer fluid – the windshield washer fluid to be used in summer is more than likely to freeze in the tank; if it does, the tank will break and you will waste time replacing it. If you’re lucky and the tank doesn’t break, you won’t be able to wash the windshield anyway since the fluid will be frozen. This is why you should definitely buy winter windshield washer fluid even before winter begins. Remember to have more of it in the car, too; winter weather makes it necessary to clean the windshield much more often than you did in summer.
- Replace your regular carpets with rubber ones – make sure you change your elegant carpets made of fabric with rubber ones; you’ll appreciate how easy it is to remove water from them. Remember: the less water there is inside the car, the more likely it is that you won’t have to remove frost from the inside of the windows, too. In fact, you might also consider putting paper towels or newspapers under the rubber carpets so water is absorbed and not just removed by yourself.
- Protect the door seals – seals should be sprayed with a special protector you can find in every shop with car accessories. You should also have the spray at hand and reapply it once in a while to ensure adequate seal protection. Not only will you help yourself and the passengers get in the car without the need to struggle with frozen doors but you will also appreciate the fact that all the seals will most likely survive winter.
- Prepare door locks – in winter, spray on lock protectors are available everywhere; they are designed to dry the lock, thus preventing it from freezing. This is important for every driver but especially owners of cars whose fuel inlet lock is not protected on its own need to make sure they always have the spray at hand.
- Clean the battery and clamps – dirty clamps mean electricity can’t be conducted as effectively as it should. Remove it unless you want to put additional strain on the electrical installation of the vehicle (remember, winter is difficult enough for it anyway).
- Invest in quality fuel – before and during winter it is always a good idea to invest in better fuel. Especially if you’re driving a diesel car, better fuel should make it easier to start the car even in freezing cold.
How the mechanic should prepare your car for winter:
- Replace tyres – when the temperatures start dropping to ca. 7 degrees Celsius, book replacement of tyres. Good traction means increased driving safety so do not hesitate; there will be queues later.
- Check the ignition – if you’re driving a petrol vehicle, have the mechanic check the spark plugs and ignition cables; if you’re driving a diesel, have them check the glowplugs.
- Check the battery and alternator – in winter, battery goes flat much easier so it is essential that it is charged by a properly working alternator. If the alternator fails, your car may not be able to charge the battery while you’re driving; as a result, you will not be able to start your car next morning. Make sure you also ask the mechanic to check the battery.
- Check the coolant – not only should its colour be right but it also should work properly. This can be checked at every mechanic workshop that is worth visiting. If necessary, replace the coolant before winter begins.
- Have the heating repaired – if you have noticed inadequate heating, visit a mechanic before it gets cold. Sometimes replacing the filter will do the trick but additional repairs may also be needed, so do this in advance. The shorter it takes for the windows to be dried on the inside, the safer your driving will be; do not ignore heating issues if you want to drive safely.
Technically speaking, you should be possible to check the coolant and alternator on your own. All you need is to buy a tester and a multimeter and learn how to use them. If you think about it, the majority of preparations for winter do not need anything else but a bit of shopping and your time. All it takes is motivation and determination. We’re sure you’ll have enough of both now that you know how much safer and more comfortable your driving can get with every step you follow. Try following them all and you will most likely drive without any surprises no matter how bad the winter is!