Every season has its own hardships for cars, but winter has to be the hardest. Between the cold, the icy roads, the thick snow layers, and the way road salt can rust steel, cars have a lot to deal with when the winter months come around. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect your vehicle from the worst of it.
Keep Your Vehicle in Your Garage
Many people don't have the option to park their car in a garage, but if you do have a garage you should make sure you're using it for your car and not just for storage. Keeping your vehicle indoors protects it from snow, hail, and freezing rain, plus it usually stays just warm enough to avoid having the windshield frost over. That means you won't have to sit in your car as it warms up and melts the frost off. It also keeps your car from being hit by slush and mud from passing vehicles.
Replace Your Old Battery
Cold weather makes batteries less efficient. By the time the temperature hits the freezing point, a battery loses a big part of its power. That means it has less energy available to start the engine, and if your battery is already old and weak it might go dead. Cold temperatures are why most batteries die during winter, and that can be a big problem if you aren't at home or in a crowded parking lot. Fortunately, you can test a battery's strength at home or at a mechanic shop and replace it if it's worn out enough.
Keep an Eye on Your Tires
Tires are always losing a little air pressure over time, plus the changing outside temperature can have its own impact on air pressure. Because of these factors, it's important to fill your tires before winter and avoid the uneven wear you get when they're under-inflated. However, you might also want to swap in a set of winter tires. Winter tires have extra treads and different rubber, so they're better at gripping when the road is wet or slippery. Just remember to inflate them to the right pressure when you put them on.
Keep the Wipers in Good Shape
Your windshield wipers are important in winter, partly because of needing to move snow off your windshield and partly because cars can kick up muddy slush onto your windshield while driving in front of you. However, wiper blades don't stay in good shape for very long, and after a few months, they can start to stiffen and crack. If a wiper is missing a big part of your windshield, that means it's getting stiff. Keeping the snow off your window is important, so go ahead and replace the wiper blades if they aren't up to the task.
There are other things you can do to protect your vehicle once winter ends, like washing it to get off the road salt and sand once the temperature goes above the freezing point. Still, these four tips can each save you a lot of trouble when winter comes along.