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January 12, 2024

How to Winterize Your Car: 8 Essential Car Tips for Cold Weather

When it comes to the cost of repairs vs. having maintenance performed on your car, it’s much easier and more cost-effective to get your car, truck, or SUV to a trusted local auto mechanic shop in Texas and have your car serviced.

This is especially true in cold weather.

Winterizing your car isn’t difficult; it might make all the difference in your cold weather driving experience.

Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive has been trusted and experienced auto mechanics in East Texas for decades and knows how important it is to keep your vehicle seasonally maintained. Your car needs different things in cold weather vs. hot weather. While East Texas might not get severely cold weather, if you’re traveling to a destination in the mountains or farther north, you must have your car winterized and know car problem solutions when they happen.

1. Servicing Your Car

Get your car serviced before cold weather and/or before you travel. Being proactive and having your car serviced at the local garage can help ensure that issues are found before they become big, costly, and potentially dangerous problems. Make sure you have the full complement of services available: Have your oil changed, filters inspected and/or replaced, belts inspected, fluids checked and topped off, and the heating/defrosting system checked to make sure it’s working properly.

2. Tire Maintenance

When was the last time you had your tires maintained? Tire maintenance is crucial to safe driving, especially if you’re driving on wet, slippery roads. When you have them inspected, you may need to have them rotated. If you’re driving in snowy conditions, ask your mechanic whether you need snow tires. Make sure you know what tire pressure your vehicle is supposed to be at. Cold weather can impact tire pressure, so it’s important to routinely check it.

3. Check Your Car Battery

A dead battery is inconvenient at any time, but this is especially true in cold, wintery weather. Cold weather can be hard on your battery. Have a professional mechanic test your car battery to ensure it’s in good condition. Getting a new car battery during service is easier than finding yourself stranded in the cold with a vehicle that won’t start. Adding a portable, self-contained battery jump box to your vehicle’s emergency kit is also a good idea. Especially if you’ll be traveling in places that get very cold.

4. Fresh Windshield Wiper Blades

It’s time. Change your windshield wiper blades. Having properly working wipers is a serious safety concern that too many people wait to fix until it’s too late. Changing your wiper blades is easy to put off—until it’s raining or snowing hard, and you cannot see the road or the brake lights in front of you. Visibility can be very bad in rainy or snowy conditions, and good wipers can make all the difference for your safety and the cars, bikers, and pedestrians around you.

5. Create an Emergency Kit

Does your vehicle have an emergency kit? Preparing a roadside emergency kit ahead of time can sometimes make the difference between life and death. This is especially true if you’re traveling in remote areas where another vehicle might not pass by often and your cell service might not function. Your emergency kit could include: a flashlight, blanket, granola bars, water bottle, first aid kit, phone charger, jumper cables, flare, etc.

6. Extra Tools to Keep in Your Car

If you’re driving in the mountains in the winter or other particularly snowy areas, having a few tools beyond those found in your emergency kit is a good idea. First, make sure you have a scraper for your windshield to remove any ice buildup. This is a good tool to have in your car any time in cold weather. You might also want to add a foldable shovel and snow chains. Snow chains might be necessary if you’re driving on slippery mountain roads.

7. Keep Your Car Clean

To help keep your car maintained during the winter so that it continues to look and perform its best during any season, it’s important to wash it regularly. Keeping your car washed throughout the winter helps keep the salt and/or other de-icing products from degrading your vehicle’s paint and metal undercarriage parts. It’s worth it to pay a little extra for that underbody wash, as it will save you money down the line in car fixes and parts. Regular car washes aren’t just to keep your car or truck shiny and good-looking but also to keep it from rusting.

8. Headlights & Taillights

When you have your service done, make sure your mechanic thoroughly tests the headlights and taillights. Ask if they think they could be replaced with something brighter. Properly working lights are important for your safety and that of other drivers.

It’s necessary to keep your car in good shape no matter the season, but regular maintenance before the seasons change, and especially before traveling, can make a big difference in your vehicle’s safety and integrity. Contact your local auto mechanic today and make a service appointment. You won’t regret it!

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