A Guide To Protecting And Maintaining Your Car In Winter
Frosty mornings, bitter winds and broken umbrellas - winter Down Under might not be as chilly as in some parts of the world, but we still feel the cold enough to warrant giving our cars a bit of extra love. That’s right, cars can catch the winter blues too!
Cold weather can wreak havoc with our vehicles, so it’s well worth taking the chance before the temperature drops to ensure your car is in the best condition to get you through another winter on the road.
Change your oil before the temperature drops
Changing your engine oil before winter hits is the best step you can take in giving your engine a long life. In particularly cold temperatures, oil gets thicker and won’t effectively lubricate your engine. If you have nights that drop below zero degrees, considering switching to a thinner engine oil. Check your recommended oil type and oil change interval with your manufacturer.
Keep an eye on your battery
Taking the time to care for your battery before winter hits will save you a nasty stint in the cold in case of a breakdown. Colder averages mean the fluids in your car will thicken, and more battery power will be required to get things heated up and going. Make sure your battery is well maintained and topped up with distilled water regularly. Check that cables are attached securely and that no corrosion has built up around posts and connections. Get your battery’s charge capacity tested when serviced, and replace if necessary.
Check your tyre tread and pressure
Winter weather can prove tough on your tyres - and in rainy weather, a good set of tyres is a must to keep you safe on the road. Take the time to check your tyre tread with the tread depth gauge. You should have a minimum of 2mm of tread across the entire tread area. Don’t forget to check your spare!
Cold temperatures can affect your tyre pressure. Make sure to keep your tyres adequately inflated, as Incorrect pressure can impact braking and overall handling. An under-inflated tyre can prove particularly dangerous on a slippery road.
Park in a garage as often as you can
Parking your car undercover overnight and where possible during the day will keep your car safe from rising damp. Condensation trapped underneath your car’s bonnet can lead to rust. To keep your vehicle well insulated and protected against the elements, you should definitely consider installing ARD Commercial Roller Doors.
Don’t get stuck in the dark
Double check that all of your lights and gauges are functioning. This one goes without saying, but with less daylight and often wet conditions, driving in winter makes working headlights a necessity.
Give your windscreen a wipe
Get your windscreen into top condition for the best visibility on rainy days. Check your windscreen wipers for wear and tear to prevent streakiness and smears on your windshield and poor visibility. Blades are easily replaced - an indication that the blades have done their dash is the tell-tale ‘bounce’ across the glass. While you’re there, check your fluid levels. Get your screen squeaky clean with a regular wipe with a chamois and methylated spirits.
Make time for a service
Consider scheduling your next service before the cold weather hits. Your car should already be serviced at regular intervals - getting a full inspection and detail inside and out is vital preparation for the change of season.
Get your brakes, belts and hoses checked. Slippery conditions require careful braking, so this is a must. Belts and hoses are more susceptible to wear and tear as the temperature drops, so make sure they’re in top shape before the weather turns.
In particularly harsh conditions, you may consider trying a new wax or sealant to keep your finish in the best possible shape. Synthetic waxes or sealants have become a popular choice over traditional carnauba based waxes, with some even favouring ceramic seals in climates affected by snow and ice.
Other exterior components, like bumpers, trim and door seals are affected by swings in temperature and UV radiation. Have them detailed to maintain shape and elasticity, and give them a longer life span. Don’t leave out your interiors - cold, dry air will sap the moisture from vinyl and leather details and cause cracking.
Get your roadside assistance coverage up to date
Car troubles are a pain at any time of year, but nothing’s more miserable than a breakdown on a cold, wet night. Call your insurance provider to double check that roadside assistance is included on your policy.
Take advantage of the weather while it’s warmer to make sure you’re road ready for winter. Once you’ve gotten your car into top shape in preparation for the cold weather, don’t forget to pop a blanket in the back seat for cold mornings and freezing nights. You’ll thank yourself later!