5 tips to get your car through the winter in Moriarty

Wintery conditions can make for challenging driving.

Wintery conditions can make for challenging driving.

With all the holidays jam-packed into winter (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day all within 6 weeks of one another), scheduling car maintenance or service is probably the last thing on your mind. However, winter subjects your car to some of the harshest conditions of the year. Slippery, icy roads and extreme, cold weather can aggravate existing car problems and leave you stranded on the side of the road, which is the worst thing that can happen when you’re already running late to a family get-together.

Check out these winter car care tips to shield your vehicle against the upcoming chill. And don’t forget to follow your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule!

Remember to check your antifreeze levels.

Remember to check your antifreeze levels and effectiveness.

Change your antifreeze – but only if you need to

While many shops offer antifreeze rechargers this time of year, the truth is that most modern cars have antifreeze – also known as engine coolant – that lasts up to 5 years or 150,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to be sure.

However, if you have reason to doubt your antifreeze will last through the cold months, you can still take your car to the shop to get your coolant flushed and filled. You can test the effectiveness of your coolant with coolant testing strips, about $10 for 50.

Windshield wipers increase visibility in bad weather.

Windshield wipers increase visibility in bad weather.

Inspect your windshield wipers

In Moriarty and other regions of the country where it snows, windshield wipers help increase visibility in snow, rain, and fog. But these chilly conditions can be the death knell of otherwise fine windshield wipers. Cold weather can freeze your wipers to your windshield, so before you turn off the ignition, turn off your wipers. That way, your motor won’t have to burn energy trying to push frozen wipers.

Another trick is to prop your wipers up, which allows you to scrape the windshield.

If you have regular windshield wipers, you may want to consider beam blades, which can clean your windshield through wind speeds of up to 135 MPH and perform well in all weather conditions. Remember that windshield wipers have a lifespan of about a year, and less if you use them often.

Batteries are highly susceptible to cold temperatures.

Batteries are highly susceptible to cold temperatures.

Check your battery life

Take it from us—preventative maintenance saves you a lot of money down the road. Most batteries last between 3 to 5 years, and are directly affected by temperature. If you park your car outdoors, the colder temperatures cause the materials in the battery to contract. These materials will then expand once the car is in use. The constant contraction and expansion will weaken the battery over time, and not surprisingly is the source of many dead batteries in the winter.

Take your car to the shop once every 6 months for a battery load test. If your battery is about to meet its end, it’s better to replace than to hope for the best, since a dead battery means a dead car. You can either replace the battery yourself or take it to the shop.

Always check your tire pressure before winter begins.

Always check your tire pressure before winter begins.

Check your tire pressure

Fact: Your tires lose a pound of pressure for every 10° drop in Fahrenheit, and underinflated tires grip onto icy roads poorly. Check your owner’s manual or your door jamb for the recommended tire pressure, and replace the valve caps when you’re done to prevent them from freezing and leaking air.

Snow tires offer better traction on slippery, icy roads.

Snow tires offer better traction on slippery, icy roads.

Switch to snow tires

Also known as winter tires, snow tires have more tread and deeper grooves that bite into the ice. All-season tires that are slightly worn may have gotten you by in the summer, but they will do nothing to grip onto the surface of the road during frosty times. Snow tires also provide superior braking in comparison to all-season tires.

These days, many modern tires are lower and wider, which helps with balance but not with snow grip. Thankfully, you can now get snow tires that are less clunky and more streamlined and quiet.

But be careful—snow tires offer poor handling and give you less control over your vehicle. They are also very tough on roads (they will tear up roads and cause potholes), so be sure to change them out once the snowfall stops.

Don’t let your car break down in the middle of all the holiday festivities! Check out our blogs on how to diagnose a Check Engine light, how to increase fuel mileage for those long treks to see friends and family, and – if you’re staying in Moriarty this holiday season – where to eat around town if you’re not in the mood for slaving over the stove.

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~ by 2ndtononeservice on November 14, 2013.

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