It’s a typical extra-moist winter start in Seattle, and we all know how quickly and unpredictably our weather can change. Massive weather events are no joke, and we need to make sure our vehicles are well-maintained and ready to go. Having some winter car care done on your vehicle can save you a trip to the mechanic’s shop. Here are some of our top tips to keep you safe on the road:
Keep Your Battery in Excellent Shape
As the temperatures drop, your vehicle’s battery cranking power is reduced. Did you know that at 0 degrees, the battery only produces half the cranking power it has at 80 degrees? Checking your battery should be on your winter car care to-do-list. It's simple to do. (Your owner’s manual can walk you through the steps.) You’ll want to remove the plastic caps and check the fluid level. For maintenance-free batteries, check the charge state window at the top of the battery. Have your battery tested to see if your battery is defective or worn out. Sometimes a seemingly dead battery only needs a charge to return to its original state.
Check for loose cables and corroded terminals. Know how to use jumper cables in the event of a drained or dead battery.
Replace Your Hoses and Wipers
Cold weather is brutal on rubber hoses and seals. Poor maintenance can leave you stranded in dangerous situations. Remember that emergency crews consider vehicle breakdowns to be low priority during significant storms with multiple accidents. Take care of worn hoses and seals the moment you see evidence of wear and tear.
Wipers are a safety necessity, yet they are often the most neglected part of car maintenance. The best performing wiper blades lose their effectiveness in as little as six months. If you’re someone who uses wipers on your ice-covered windshield in your mad rush to get moving, your wiper blade effectiveness is significantly lessened.
Consider New Tires
Performing winter care care on your vehicle must include your tires. Ending up in a ditch, suffering from a blow out, or spinning out in the snow are terrible times to find out your tires need to be replaced. Tire traction is imperative in the ice and snow. Remember that winter tires sell out fast, and replacements are usually harder to come by as you travel. You’ll want to replace all four tires at one time. As the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. As the temperature lowers, the air inside the tire becomes denser, and this lowers the tire pressure. Make sure your tire pressure is still at your vehicle’s required psi.
Winter Car Care Includes Your Emergency Kit
There is more to a vehicle emergency kit than the typical first aid kit, water bottles, and snacks. You'll want extra tire chains, window scrapers, wiper blades, engine oil, tire pressure gauges, blankets, and maybe even a change of clothes. Don't forget about your spare tire. It deserves some serious attention, especially when you’re winterizing your vehicle. Hoses and wipers aren’t the only things that break down with the changes in temperature.
Park Smart, Drive Smart
Pay attention to snowplows. During winter events, they’re given the respect they deserve, but every year drivers still try to drive around snowplows or don’t pay attention to where they park. Keep in mind that plows rarely stop for minor collisions or illegally parked drivers.
For more automotive maintenance tips to help you survive the remaining winter months, contact Scott Sherman Auto Care at 206-745-5886 or schedule an appointment for your vehicles today!