Winterize Your Engine
Punxsutawney Phil Says More Winter Ahead? Winterize Your Car!
As we watch the latest winter storm pound the East Coast (from California, sorry guys, and hope you’re doing well out there!), we started wondering how many of the vehicles we see on television have been properly prepared for the winter weather. Now, we aren’t assuming that people who endure some of the US’s coldest months don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to winterizing their vehicles. Instead, just a curious automotive question…
For those of you who may be new to the Northeast, Northwest, Canada, Alaska, Siberia, etc., we felt that it’d be a great time to back up our “Winter Driving Safety” piece from a few weeks ago with a guide that outlines how to properly prepare your vehicle for the blustery, frigid, and downright grueling winter months.
Shall we? Let’s…
Your engine can get pretty warm shortly after starting, but don’t take that as a signal that you can fire her up and let it rip on the freeway. While “warming” a vehicle up is overrated in some regards, giving your car the extra minute or two in the dead of winter can be beneficial. Plus, you’re able to let the heater warm up the cabin for you, while you’re inside finishing your coffee! Win-win!
It’s also important to remember that the needs of your engine change given the outside temperature. For example, altering the oil that you use in your car’s engine during the colder months can play a huge role in performance. If you normally use 10W-30, try using some 5W-30 during the winter months.
Also, remember that hoses that are already close to the “breaking point” may become brittle during the colder months. Give them a long look during the summer to help prevent issues during the next snowstorm.
These types of considerations can be huge for your engine, but always be sure that you consult your owner’s manual before making any definite changes!
Here are a few resources that can help you protect your vehicle’s most valuable asset – its engine:
The Cooling System
Again, while we touched on the engine’s temperature above, it’s important to remember that anti-freeze has its name for a reason! When used properly, it WON’T FREEZE! So, be sure to have your cooling system serviced (personally or professionally) during the warmer months. We recommend flushing the cooling system and filling it with a 50/50 split of anti-freeze and water. Doing so will ensure that the radiator’s contents don’t freeze when the temps plunge to levels that should flat-out be illegal…
Want to flush your cooling system? Here’s how:
Now that your engine is properly prepared for the snow, how are your tires looking? Do you need snow tires? Chains? Is your vehicle a 4x4?
All of these things can help you endure the brutal winter months. As for the driver (this means you), a Parka and a First Aid kit should do the trick. Always have extra blankets, water, and bandages in the trunk, as you never know when you’ll need to endure a night out in your broken down vehicle. We aren’t playing “Chicken Little” here…just trying to be prudent.
So, there you have it! Taking care of your vehicle during the winter months is crucial to improving the longevity of your car or truck. Check out the above resources, take a good look under the hood, and most importantly, be prepared for the unexpected. While we can’t help you avoid running from your house to the car in the morning, what we can do is help you ensure that the car starts when you ask it to!