While vehicle maintenance is important no matter the season, it's especially important during the winter months when the harsher climate takes a greater toll on your ride.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Car's Fluids
Your fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle, so it pays to keep them in good shape. Here's how you can do just that:

  • Check and change your fluids regularly. If possible, have your engine oil, coolant and other fluids changed before winter arrives.
  • Maintain a proper antifreeze ratio. If you're not using 50/50 premix, then make sure to maintain at least a 70/30 ratio of antifreeze to water.
  • If necessary, switch to a thinner engine oil. Cold temperatures can thicken up engine oil, making it harder to circulate throughout your engine until it reaches full operating temperature. A lower-viscosity oil flows easier, putting less stress on your engine as it warms up.
  • Keep your gas tank half-full. Not only does it keep your fuel pump from freezing, but you'll have fewer worries about being low on gas, especially at times when you can't immediately get to a gas station.
  • Make sure you have winter windshield washer fluid. Winter blends won't ice over at below-freezing temperatures.

Have Your Battery Inspected and Tested
The colder it gets, the harder your battery works to start your vehicle. Older batteries can easily get wiped out due to the stress that come with operating in cold weather. If you don't want to be stranded on the side of the road this winter, have your battery checked at the start of winter.

Take a quick glance at your battery and check for signs of corrosion or physical damage. Make sure the battery case isn't cracked, swollen or leaking acid. If you see corrosion on the battery terminals and/or connectors, you can use a wire brush and a mix of baking soda and water to neutralize and clean those surfaces.

Have a professional test the battery to ensure it not only holds a suitable charge, but also provides enough cold cranking amps to reliably start your vehicle. Most experts recommend using a battery that offers at least 600 CCA or more for reliable cold weather performance.

Check Your Belts and Hoses
Below-freezing temperatures can also take a toll on your car's rubber components, including serpentine belts, radiator hoses and vacuum lines. Be sure to check these components thoroughly at the beginning of the winter season.

If the serpentine belt has cracks, missing chunks, or a glazed appearance on any of the belt surfaces, replace it as soon as possible. Look for any signs of cracking or splitting on the hose surfaces and watch out for leaks. Don't forget to inspect the clamps, making sure they're not corroded or damaged.

Change Your Windshield Wipers
Replace your windshield wipers at the start of each season. Doing so helps preserve your windshield visibility even under harsh winter driving conditions. If you've replaced your wipers already, carefully check the blades for any cracks, missing chunks or any other sign of wear and tear.

If you can, swap your windshield wiper blades with ones designed specifically for winter use. These blades feature more durable rubber and a higher tensile strength that lets it clear snow and slush buildup more effectively.

Take Care of Your Tires
Your tires are your only point of contact between you and the road, so it pays to keep them in great shape. Here are a few things you can do to take care of your tires this winter:

  • Make sure your tires have enough tread. Use a tread depth gauge to measure how much tread remains on your tires. If your tires have less than 3/32-inches of tread left, consider replacing them as soon as possible.
  • Monitor your tire pressures. Your tires lose 1 to 2 psi of pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Checking your tire pressures on a regular basis ensures they're not underinflated, which could cause long-term damage.
  • Consider switching to snow tires. If you plan on driving in snowy conditions on a regular basis, a set of snow tires is a good investment. Snow tires feature special rubber compound that doesn't turn brittle with cold temperatures, plus tread design that digs through snow and slush for superior traction.
  • Don't drive on old tires. Tires can deteriorate with age and constant exposure to UV rays. Most carmakers recommend replacing your tires at six years from the date of manufacture, regardless of remaining tread. You can find your tires' DOT date code (the last four digits) on the sidewall.

Protect Your Paint
Wash and wax your car prior to the first snowfall. Washing your car gets rid of any potential contaminants that could harm your car's paint finish, while applying a high-quality wax helps preserve that finish via protective coating. If you live in areas where road salt is in heavy use, you may want to rinse off your car's rocker panels and undercarriage when you arrive home to prevent rust and corrosion from forming.

If you don't plan on driving your car at all this winter, then long-term storage becomes a viable option. If at all possible, make your garage or a suitable storage unit your new home for your ride. Even an outdoor carport with a couple of attached walls can provide adequate shelter from snow and sleet. You can also use a car cover if you don't have a carport or garage available.  


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Mansfield Motor Group

1493 Park Ave W
Directions Mansfield, OH 44906

  • Sales: (419) 869-3260
  • Service: (419) 871-5977