Caring For Your Vehicle During the Winter in Bedford, OH

January 20th, 2022 by

Just like the seasonal wardrobe changes you might make to keep you warm, your vehicle might also need a winter makeover to stay in tip-top shape. Taking proper measures to prepare for cold weather is crucial, as it can prolong the lifespan of your automobile. While regular auto maintenance is essential year-round, it’s especially important in winter.

From frozen fuel lines to low tire pressure to road salt damage and struggling batteries, winter weather can take its toll on your car. It’s never too early to get you and your ride ready to take on whatever the winter weather throws at it, and that is why we’ll share some critical winter car care tips so that you can enjoy your drive without compromising your car’s health.

Change Your Oil 

Car parked in snow with two people nearby

Bel après-midi d’hiver” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Ludovic_P

When you think of winter auto maintenance, an oil change is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. The advantages of switching from conventional to synthetic oil are numerous. Depending on the vehicle’s make and model, now might be the ideal time to make a change. Synthetic oil is easier on the engine and promotes better motor function in frigid weather.

Unlike conventional oil, synthetic oil doesn’t require time to heat up, as a result protecting the engine’s moving components upon ignition. If you’re not ready to switch to full-synthetic oil, you can try a synthetic blend. Synthetic blends are part conventional oil and part synthetic oil, offering many of the advantages of full synthetic oil at an affordable price.

Test Your Battery

A defective or flat battery is one of the leading causes of car breakdowns, and the risk of battery failure is greater in icy, wet, and cold weather. Aim to change your vehicle’s battery every three years if possible, or sooner if it’s faulty. Signs of a defective battery include engine turnover delays, dim headlights, flickering red battery light in the instrument, or the need to step on the gas pedal to start. 

Install Snow Chains or Socks

If you live in an area with high snowfall, then a set of chains could ensure you don’t get stuck. A decent set is about $70 online, and with practice, you can install them in minutes. Snow socks serve a similar purpose and provide enough traction and grip to drive across snow-covered roads safely.

Add to Your Emergency Kit

Winter can be unpredictable, so it’s best not to wait for snowfall and other inclement weather to put the snow shovel, de-icer, and ice scraper in the vehicle. Always keep an emergency winter kit in the trunk. You never know what will happen while you’re out on the road, especially if it’s late at night and you’re not close to home. Recommended emergency items include:

  • Small first aid kit
  • Sand or salt
  • Flashlight
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Blankets
  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Road flares
  • Jumper cables

Also, remember to offload any unnecessary items that can weigh down your vehicle and reduce fuel economy.

Wash Your Vehicle Regularly

While cleaning your ride may seem like a waste of money and time, it’s even more important to keep your car clean during winter. While road salt does a great job keeping the roads in good winter driving condition, it’s tough on your vehicle. Because of its corrosive effects, it can damage your car’s undercarriage, gas and brake lines, exhaust system, and paint job. Don’t dismiss salt as just a common nuisance of winter. Please get rid of it when you can!

Check Your Coolant 

Coolant, also called antifreeze, is essential to your vehicle as it prevents the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before winter comes, ensure your ride isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks that could cause it to drain out.

Protect Your Car’s Paint Job

Your car’s paint job suffers significantly during the winter months. The chemicals and salt used on the road to prevent snow and ice buildup get on the exterior of your ride and wear down the paint. Wintry road hazards can also cause scratches and chips on your vehicle. While it may be tough to clean your car in bad weather, doing so is crucial to keep it looking new.

Check Tire Pressure 

Driving a car with low tire pressure can be very dangerous, especially on winter roads. Take your vehicle to the nearest service center to check your tire air pressure and fill them up if needed. If you know how to check tire pressure, you can do it yourself at the local gas station.

Switch to Winter Tires 

When the temperature consistently hovers below or around freezing point, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden, reducing the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use unique compounds engineered to prevent hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction in snow and ice. 

General Maintenance

Last but not least, take your ride for overall servicing before the weather gets extremely cold. Before the seasons change, it’s always best to take your car for a tune-up to an authorized service center. This tip isn’t only for the cold winter months; it could benefit areas with harsh winters.

Vehicles are more prone to malfunctions during extreme weather conditions. Consequently, scheduling a basic check-up to ensure the core parts are functioning correctly and can help prevent potential problems. Always schedule a service appointment at an authorized service center like North Coast Auto Mall in Bedford, Ohio. Make sure to check the following items and replace them as needed:

  • Hoses and belts
  • Spark plugs
  • Battery
  • Fluid levels
  • Air intake and air filter

Need more expert advice on how to winterize your car in Bedford, Ohio? Contact us or visit one of our service centers in Bedford, Ohio and let us offer you the guidance you need to make the most of your ride during the coldest months of winter. Be sure to check out our used vehicle inventory, apply to get pre-qualified for an auto loan, schedule a test drive, and value your trade.