Cold Weather Car Care
Sure, we've written about car care before, but that was when we were basking in the glow of late summer sun, without a care in the world. Now that the hard winds and snow have arrived, we're desperately searching for bargain travel deals to Florida.
So, in today's post, we want to get into the nitty gritty of mainting your car when the weather looks and feels Siberian, and the need to take a few extra minutes to keep our vehicles running feels like a prison sentence.
(Also, if you don't have a good weather app downloaded on your smartphone, now's the time to get one. We recommend Weather Underground.)
Anticipating Your Car's Needs
Nope, this isn't a therapy session for you and your Dodge Journey. Just a few easy, affordable (if not free) things you can do to prepare your car during winter's worst, and keep it running as smoothly as possible.
1. Before popping the hood, try to secure a warm, or at least protected, environment to work on your car. Don't have a garage? Check with friends or family, or even your local car repair shop--a lot of locally owned places will give you a bay for free or a small fee.
2. Bundled up now? Good. Now give your tires a kick, and check their pressure. Making sure they're up to snuff (tire pressure for typical passenger cars should be between 32 and 35 psi) is critical to ensuring that you'll be able to handle an icy patch or two. Also, you can always check inside your driver's door for tire pressure numbers, but never go by the psi listed on your tire, as that number is for max capacity.
3. Those wipers you bought three springs ago and can "mostly" see out of? Yeah, it's time to let those go. New wipers will set you back about two entres at Applebees, but will give you way more satisfaction than an oriental chicken salad will. And a big old handle of winterized wiper fluid pairs nicely with a set of wipers, so make sure that's what you're using until it's time for the kids to sign up for little league.
4. Stop idling your car. It's killing your engine, and is only really effective for up to 30 seconds. The fastest way to a warm car is to start driving.
5. The average car battery lasts between 3-5 years, and replacing it is the most expensive recommendation on this list. Before you dip into your slush fund, though, have your local mechanic test the battery, and if there's a need, start with replacing the spark plugs. At home, check that the battery isn't leaking acid (you'll know it by the chalky white substance coming out near the battery cables), and that the cables are secure. If they're loose, a simple adjustment to the battery nut is all you need.
Now take all the money you've saved by just doing some basic car winterizing, and buy yourself some nice mittens!