10 Winter Car Care Tips
The winter months can really take their toll on your car, causing rust and damage and potentially incurring needless repair costs just when you don’t need them. Here are a few ways to help protect your car from the cold weather and keep your vehicle running well, even in the deep midwinter!
1) Protect your car’s carpeting with floor mats in the front and back seats. The rubber waffle style mats are the best for dealing with slushy snow, salt and mud, but you can also get fabric-topped mats which can be thrown in the washing machine or vacuumed when they need a proper clean. Even better, keep a pair of clean driving shoes in your car so you can avoid having to do any cleaning at all!
2) Wipe down the rubber weatherstrips on your car doors and windows with a rubber protectant. Keeping these rubber seals clean and protected during winter helps prevent your doors and windows from sticking in icy weather, which can damage weatherstripping. Don’t use WD40 (or any other oil-based product) on rubber, as it can cause further damage.
3) WD40 is useful, however, on your door locks to prevent them from icing over.
4) Touch up nicks, scratches and scrapes as soon as you notice them, before they start to rust. Paint won’t adhere to rust, so it’s important to catch any damage before the cold wet weather gets to it. A common place for scrapes and scratches is around the doors – check your vehicle next time you take a drive.
5) Don’t ignore chips and cracks in your windscreen. Cold weather and or sudden extremes of temperature (for example pouring boiling water on a frozen windscreen – NEVER do this!) can worsen imperfections in the glass and cause the need for an entire windscreen replacement when a quick fix could have solved the problem. Many insurance and breakdown cover policies cover minor windscreen damage and won’t affect your premium.
6) Use the appropriate type and mix of antifreeze and windscreen washer fluid. You need to use less water during winter to avoid the fluid freezing in sub zero temperatures. Don’t run your wipes if you suspect your washer pump is clogged or frozen, or your fluid reservoir is empty as this could damage the system further.
7) If you think it’s pointless cleaning your car during winter, think again! Washing your vehicle is even more important during the colder months to remove salt, ice, slush and sand from your paintwork and undercarriage to avoid rust. Corrosion can occur when temperatures regularly dip above and below freezing. Pick a day when the temperature is above zero and get to work with a bucket of warm water, or take your car to a professional or automated car wash.
8) Check your tyres are properly inflated. Under-inflated tyres will cause reduced grip, something you definitely don’t want on already slippy roads. Over-inflated tyres are more susceptible to blowouts, and wrongly-inflated tyres in general decrease your fuel efficiency, quality of ride and handling.
9) If you have an air-conditioning system in your car, make sure you run it a few times during the winter to keep the moving parts in the compressor from seizing up. Circulating the refrigerant also helps to keep the seals pliable and soft.
10) Stick to your car service schedule. The time around Christmas is often a period for pinching the pennies but the winter is the most important time to keep your car properly maintained and repaired. Most garages also offer free winter checks for your vehicle to ensure you are as safe as possible on the road in icy and wet weather.
Follow these tips to keep your car in good condition throughout the winter months and avoid costly repairs that could have been easily avoided by some simple home car maintenance.
About the Author
FastFit Station has branches across Milton Keynes and is open seven days a week. We have a wide ranges of exhaust as well as Tyres Milton Keynes.