Winterize Your Car

From the Good Carma Blog Desk!

Hey folks! As cold weather approaches us here in the Austin area, there are several things you should be thinking about in terms of automotive maintenance to prepare yourself for winter. Although our winters are not particularly extreme in Texas, a 30 degree temperature change can affect your car or truck in many ways.

Tires. A 30 degree temperature change can lower your tire pressure by up to 15 psi. The air in your tires actually shrinks against the cold air, so it is therefore necessary to check your tire pressure regularly as the temperature changes. Another important thing to remember is that your front tires will unvaryingly wear down faster than your rear tires because the turning motion of steering wears the edges of the front tires. Rear tires hold up better as they really only wear out in the middle. That’s why it’s important for everyone to rotate their tires regularly. This extends the life of your tires and keeps you safer out on the road. This should be generally be done about every other oil change, which brings us to our next point…

Changing your oil. Many people underestimate the importance of such basic maintenance as changing your oil, but there is nothing more singularly important for the life of your engine than changing your oil regularly. This becomes more important the older your car gets and the more miles it accumulates. The slightest oil leak could lead to an automotive disaster. It is also important to make sure to use the recommended weight for your car.

Battery service. When temperatures get colder, batteries tend to die. It’s important to check your connections, clean corrosion off of terminals and contact points, and test the battery. Cold weather puts a strain on your battery so make sure it’s up to the task for the upcoming months.

Maintain your windshield. In the winter we often have significantly more precipitation, so new wiper blades are always good to check or replace as winter approaches. Also, make sure to use windshield washer fluid rated for low temperatures. You don’t want that freezing up in the reservoir, causing significant damage.

Check your belts and hoses. Consider cold weather’s affect on rubber. If you’ve ever paid attention to a rubber object left out in the cold, you know that the cold will significantly dry out and crack rubber materials as they age. For this reason, it’s important to have your belts and hoses checked before the winter arrives because they will dry out significantly in the colder weather.

Fluids. Our final maintenance concern for the winter. Changing your coolant can be very important for keeping your car cool in the summer, but also for keeping your heater working well for the winter. The engine coolant is actually what creates the heat for your heater and your heater core can get clogged up easily over the summer while it isn’t being used. If you plan on taking any road trips into the rest of the US where they have an actual winter, you should definitely have your car checked out before the trip, and consider more substantial fluid services such as brake, clutch and power steering fluid changes as well. Four wheel drive fluid services can always be a life saver as we rarely get a chance to use them in Texas, and the fluid inside the front differentials are often very dirty and neglected.

Most importantly, always remember that we are happy to check out any problem you have with your car, but are also happy to tell you what basic maintenance your car needs or doesn’t need, and we’re glad to do it for no charge every day of the week! Now that’s Good Carma!