A Few Things You Can Do to Winterize A Vehicle On Your Own
Anyone who lives in an area with consistent yearly snowfall knows about dealer “winterization” packages offered by their service departments, yet the HonestCarDealer has a few basic tips to protect your automotive investment and make the winter months a lot less cruel on you and your vehicle.
Do it Yourself Tips for Winterizing a Vehicle: For Use
The key to fighting winter weather — and saving money on unnecessary “winterization” service appointments — is knowing what elements of your vehicle are most susceptible to damage from cold, frost, and snow. The health of your tires should be priority number one. If you have access to snow tires, know how to install them, and live in a region where the grounds are covered in snow enough of the year to warrant switching treads, by all means do that first. If, on the other hand, your snowfall is only sporadic, you can get a little extra grip from reducing the air pressure in your tires. Be wary, however, because under cold weather conditions tires naturally lose pressure; check your gauges first. Your car owner’s manual may also have a suggested pressure level for winter driving.
Next up is engine health. Although it is somewhat less common today than in the past, many engines still require a different viscosity of oil during the winter. You will want to consult your owner’s manual and replace accordingly. While you’re at this, you should also make sure your antifreeze mixture is topped off and at the correct ratio. Replacing your wiper blades and washing fluids for snowy driving wouldn’t hurt either. An emergency kit is also essential.
Apart from these basic things, all you need to do is to ensure that certain other systems are operating as usual before venturing out. Check the following to see that they are nominal:
- Your all-wheel drive (AWD) system, if applicable.
- That your battery is holding an adequate charge.
- Test the heating and defrosting climate systems.
- Address any check-engine or warning lights.
If you still feel the need to submit your car to dealer “winterizing” after doing all this, go right ahead, but taking the time to do these few things should give you the confidence to make the trek into a winter wonderland.
July 22, 2012 by Jamie Rettig