Do you know when – and why – your car needs a regular service and maintenance? Here’s your ultimate car maintenance guide for a safe car.
Icy winter roads pose a considerable risk to drivers and are responsible for over 500,000 accidents each year. While it might sound unavoidable, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk.
When fall comes around and the temperatures start to drop, it is the perfect time to get your car winter-ready. By following this maintenance guide, you can ensure that your car will be safe while driving out on those snowy and icy roads.
Create a Winter Preparedness Box
This is a box of essentials that you need to put in your car. It should contain everything you need in the event of an emergency. Here are some things you need to include:
- Road flares
- First aid kit
- Change of clothes
- Pair of gloves
- Extra charged phone or cable to charge yours
- Bag of sand for traction
- Ice scraper
- High energy snacks like nuts or beef jerky
For ease of reuse, store all of these items in a Rubbermaid container throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Simply put the container in your trunk during your winter prep.
Check the Engine Coolant and Antifreeze
Antifreeze is the liquid that flows through your engine and prevents it from freezing. Without it, there is a very real chance of your engine freezing in those cold winter months.
It can be tempting to try and drive your car to warm up the engine. But this is the worst thing you can do. A frozen engine will leave you stranded until it naturally thaws.
Check your vehicle’s coolant and antifreeze levels. Now compare the readings you get to your owner’s manual. Adjust each to the appropriate levels as dictated by the manufacturer.
Check the Tires
Having the right tires is key to maintaining traction while on the road. The first thing you should do is to make sure you have the right tires on your vehicle.
There is a difference between summer and winter tires. Now is the time to replace your summer tires with winter ones. You can do this yourself or have your service shop replace your tires for you.
Next, you need to check that they are at the right tire pressure. Use a tire gauge to check the pressure of each tire.
Follow your owner’s manual to know the ideal tire pressure for your car. Tire pressure recommendations are also usually listed on the sticker inside the driver’s side door.
The correct tire pressure will give you the most amount of traction. It will also ensure that your tires wear evenly so that you won’t need to replace them prematurely.
You should also do the Lincoln Test on your tires. This will help you check the amount of tread that is left on your tires.
Take a penny and place it into the tread. Have Lincoln’s head point downward towards the tire. If you can see his entire head, then you need to replace your tires before winter comes.
Replace Your Windshield Fluid
Not all windshield wiper fluid is formulated the same. The fluid you use during the spring and summer may not work during the winter months. It may actually make things worse for you by freezing the moment it touches your cold windshield.
Switch out your washer fluid for one that is formulated for winter. It won’t freeze and it can actually help break up the ice that’s on your windshield.
Get an Oil Change
Engine oil comes in different thicknesses. As a general rule, the colder it is, the thinner you want your oil to be. It can be smart to replace your oil with a type that is more winter-friendly.
Check your owner’s manual for the ideal oil for your vehicle. Then look at the first number on the oil container to figure out the oil’s viscosity in colder weather.
The lower that number is, the better the viscosity will be in cold temperatures. For example, 5W-30 oil is better than oil that is 10W-30 during the winter months.
Less viscous oil will flow better through your engine. That means your engine will stay better coated and protected. Higher viscosity risks the oil becoming too thick and gumming up your engine.
Test Your Battery
When batteries are subjected to cold weather their capacity decreases. This isn’t a big deal if your battery is new but can be an issue if your battery is older. It is best to have your battery tested to ensure it will perform when you need it most during the winter.
You can protect your battery during the winter by parking your car in a garage. This will prevent your battery from exposure to the coldest of winter temperatures.
Clean and Treat Your Doors
Have you ever noticed that your doors get stuck in the winter months? You can prevent this by giving them a good clean and lube.
Start by cleaning all of the dust, dirt, and debris from the moving components of the door. Then apply a light layer of oil or lubricant to the lock, hinge, and edge of your car door.
This method works well for the hood and trunk also.
Have Your Car Serviced
One easy way to have your car winter-ready is to have it professionally serviced. Ask your mechanic or service shop to do a seasonal tune-up.
They will check for leaks, worn hoses, and any potential needed repairs or replacements. They will also test your battery, tighten cable connections, and inspect your tires.
Follow This Winter Maintenance Guide
As autumn turns to winter, it’s the perfect time to winterize your car. Be sure to follow this maintenance guide so that you check all of the critical areas of your vehicle.
Schedule service for your Cadillac today and ensure that your vehicle is winter-ready.