Protecting Your Car in the Winter

Winter months are always hard on us as cold weather leads to achy joints and frostbite. As hard as it is for you to weather the cold, winter is even harder on your car. How can you protect it from winter’s chill and the harsh elements?

Mind Your Mix

Most of us don’t think twice about our car’s antifreeze during the warmer spring and summer months, but once colder weather arrives, you need to be more vigilant. If your car’s antifreeze mix is wrong, it could cause your car to overheat, even in the dead of winter. Antifreeze can, contrary to its name, freeze. Quickly flushing and replacing your coolant will only take a few minutes but will save you a load of trouble once the temperature drops.

Wax On, Wax Off

If you’re going to drive your car during the colder months, you should set it up with as much protection as possible. Before you start driving on salty roads, give your car a good wash and wax with a synthetic polymer wax. This is equivalent to putting a pair of snow boots on your car — it makes it look good and protects it against snow, salt and other environmental concerns. Nothing looks better than a freshly waxed car, no matter what season it is.

Charge It Up

Avoid being stranded on a cold morning with a dead battery. Colder temperatures inhibit the chemical reaction inside your battery, meaning the colder it gets the more power you lose. Older batteries are more likely to fail under extreme temperatures than newer ones. If you have an old battery, consider replacing it before the temperatures fall. Parking in a garage is a good way to keep your battery from getting too cold. If that’s not an option, consider a battery warmer or engine warmer. They ensure your engine starts in the coldest temperatures and reduce the stress on your battery and other engine components.

Park It

If your garage isn’t filled with boxes and other extraneous junk, use it to protect your car from the harsh, cold weather. If your garage is in good shape and can protect your car, use it! It doesn’t make sense to park your car in the garage if the door is in bad shape or cracks bring in the outdoor elements. If there’s damage to your garage door, don’t worry: Most of the time you can replace the damaged panel instead of purchasing a whole new door.

See Clearly

Your engine is vital, but you’re not going anywhere unless you can see out of the windshield. Check your windshield wipers to make sure they’re in good shape. If you’re worried about ice or freezing rain while you’re driving, swap your regular blades out for a winterized pair that won’t freeze while they’re keeping your windshield clear. Also, it’s essential to replace your washer fluid with one that’s designed for cold weather. The big difference is that winter washer fluid includes a solvent to keep the fluid from freezing while it’s on your windshield. If you make your own washer fluid, add 90% isopropyl alcohol to keep it from freezing. Otherwise, simply purchase winter washer fluid from your local parts store.

Winter is a beautiful time of year. Make sure you protect your car from the harsh weather, so it’s around to carry you from place to place for many seasons to come.

Scott Huntington is a guest NMA blogger who is an automotive writer from central Pennsylvania. Check out his work at  Off the Throttle or  follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington. 

Not an NMA Member yet?

Join today and get these great benefits!

Leave a Comment