Being stranded on the hard shoulder is bad enough when it’s warm outside. With winter bearing down upon us, breakdowns can quickly turn dangerous. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe throughout the frigid months by tackling these 5 common winter-related car problems.
1. Deflated tires cause many problems. For every 10 degrees the temperature outside drops, your car’s tires lose roughly 1 pound of pressure. Under-inflated tires can heat up and burst under any weather conditions; they don’t provide better traction on slick or snowy roads. It’s nearly impossible to eyeball a tire’s pressure - buy a quality pressure gauge or take your car to a qualified mechanic once a month to make sure all four tires are properly inflated.
2. Clear off snow as soon as it starts building up on your car. Hacking away at any part of your car with a frozen scraper can damage the paint-job as well as its trim, gaskets, seals, and windshield wipers. Go slowly, removing as much of the loose stuff as possible before you start scraping.
3. Cold weather is infamous for draining old batteries, and for compromising worn-out spark plugs. To keep your car in running shape, consider having a new battery and fresh spark-plugs installed before the weather takes a turn for the worse.
4. Select the correct fluids for your climate zone, and keep fluids topped up. Swap out your usual windshield wiper fluid for one with an anti freezing agent in it, since visibility in wintry conditions is key to avoiding accidents. Not enough antifreeze in your engine coolant can lead to cracks and blockages due to freezing. But too much antifreeze can cause heating problems due to poor engine coolant circulation. Top up all fluids and check fluid lines for leaks. During really cold spells, keep your fuel-tank more than half full in order to prevent the fuel lines from freezing. Plus, let your vehicle warm up for about ten minutes before driving it, especially if it’s been sitting out in the cold overnight. Don’t rev the engine, however, since revving can strain hoses and gaskets that may be brittle from the cold.
5. After months enjoying ice-free roads, many automobile operators are used to driving too quickly, making sudden moves in dangerous conditions. To get where you need to go safely this year, slow down while driving and leave at least one car-length for every ten miles of hour between you and the vehicle in front of you. Increase your following distance on slippery roads. And remember that if you can’t see the side mirrors of the semi-truck in front of you, he or she can’t see you. The only acceptable time for racing is when you’re getting paid to race on an actual race-track.
For professional help keeping your vehicle on the road this winter, turn to the automobile repair and maintenance experts at Revolution Motor Works.