Though Phil the groundhog says we have six more weeks of winter, it’s beginning to feel more like spring in Texas. With the warmer weather drawing near, you may start to notice the cold weather was particularly harsh on your car this year.
How can you avoid this?
Here are a few, simple ways you can de-winterize your vehicle, while also protecting yourself from costly auto repairs as well as dangerous driving situations.
Coolant doesn’t only keep your car from overheating, it also protects your engine against corrosion. Every vehicle requires a certain ratio of antifreeze to water. To check the composition of your radiator’s fluid, you can pick-up an inexpensive anti-freeze tester at your local auto parts store. Your owner’s manual or mechanic can explain what ratio is best for your car; or most vehicles, a winter ratio is 60% coolant to 40% water. Using a coolant with ethylene glycol can also help protect your engine.
Wipe It Up
Those who have driven behind a truck that kicks up slushy, winter mud on your windshield can appreciate the importance of wipers and washer fluid. For best results in cleaning off all that winter grime, select a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution, but be careful as some harsh washer fluids can damage your car’s paint.
Belt It Out
Cold temperatures can weaken and tear the belts and hoses that help make your engine run smoothly. Stop by your local auto repair shop and have them check that all belts and hoses are working efficiently and are undamaged.
Have you ever noticed your car’s tire pressure light sometimes comes on during the winter? Or maybe you’ve noticed that your car just isn’t getting the same gas mileage as it used to? Under-inflated tires can lower your gas mileage and are typically more prone to damage (flats, blow-outs, etc.). Check your tire pressure to make sure the cold weather hasn’t deflated them.
Extremely cold weather can reduce a car’s battery life by 50%! To ensure you don’t get stranded with a dead battery, check your car’s battery life.
There is a simple test you can do to check the life of your battery before getting a mechanic involved. Turn on the vehicle’s headlights before starting the engine. If the headlights get brighter once the engine has been started, a more detailed battery test is needed.
Taking these steps now to ensure your car has withheld any damages from winter will not only save you time, but will keep you from paying a hefty car repair bill.
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