Here are some practical maintenance tips that can be easily incorporated into your car care routine, to keep your vehicle safe from snow and ice.
Take precautions when parking
A dead car battery, drops in tire pressure and windshield chips are just some of the reasons not to park outdoors this winter. But unless you’re lucky enough to have a garage, your vehicle may have to brave the nasty weather for some time.
One of the most serious mechanical failures when temperatures drop is a frozen engine. You’ll know your engine has iced over when you hear a relentless squealing under the hood. If you’re parking outside overnight, consider the following:
- Invest in a block heater or electric engine blanket. These plug-in devices are draped over the engine to keep it warm. Similar products are available for car batteries, too.
- Car covers are another great investment. They protect your vehicle from snow and ice when not on the road.
Short-term parking, like outside the mall, can also cause problems in winter. Raise your wiper blades so they don’t freeze to the windshield. This will give you easier access to remove snow and ice after a storm.
Wash and wax regularly
Road salt is certainly helpful in keeping the streets cleared. But because salt is so corrosive, it can also damage your car’s paint job. If your vehicle already has some chipped paint or rusted areas, salt can make things worse. Here’s how you can avoid this:
- Wax the car thoroughly before the cold weather sets in. For best results, use a high-quality wax product and foam applicator. Pay special attention to areas behind the wheels and front grille where salt tends to accumulate.
- Wash your car regularly throughout the winter season; at least once every two weeks is ideal.
Clean your vehicle when temperatures are moderate, so water doesn’t freeze over your power windows. If you want to wash on a colder day, warm it up first; drive your car around the block and turn up the heaters beforehand.