Winter cold can freeze even the most unlikely of objects, especially vehicles plying on high altitude roads. Hence proper vehicle care and maintenance is a must.
We have listed down few checklist pointers for this winter
1. Oil change – Motor oil is one of the most important fluids. Hence ensure you start your winter with a high quality clean oil to keep the engine lubricated, irrespective of the temperatures. Of course the decision to change motor oil will depend on the miles you usually cover and the type of motor oil in use. You have to choose between mineral based oil and synthetic oil. according to experts in winters using synthetic oil serves well.
2. Tyres – Properly inflated tires maximise the traction on wet or icy roads and are a good protection against potholes. Replace worn out tires as well specially in winters. Keep a tire gauge handy in the car. All season tires harden up below 7 degree C. Use winter tires with studs ( for snow prone areas), which stay soft, if you are traveling to high altitudes prone to single digit temperature.
3. Battery charge – Cold temperatures can reduce battery power by almost 50 %. Check the batteries and remove any corrosion if any on the connections. Also the terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. Its a known fact that batteries give little notice before dying, hence carry a handheld hydrometer to gauge the voltage .
4. Radiator fluid – Ensure that your radiator has a quality anti freeze fluid. There should be a proper premix of water and coolant.
5. Wipers and Windshield – Change your wipers once a year as snow, sleet, rain and ice can pose visibility issues. Never wash frosted windshield with hot water as it can end up in cracking the windshield. Keep quality antifreeze wiper fluid for clear vision.
6. Engine care – Engines in old models take a longer time to heat up and then provide subsequent cabin heat. New models have an option to directly provide heat to the interiors before getting the engine warmed up. It’s always prudent to start the engine for few minutes before turning on the heater to avoid long term engine damage.
7. Duration of trips – Repeated short trips in cold weather like taking kids to/from school, visit to the local shop end up in the vehicle never warming up sufficiently to burn off accumulated water vapour leading to your exhaust system rusting prematurely.
8. Emergency kit – Items to include in your winter safety kit apart from the regular all year first aid kit are
Flashlight , Blanket , leather gloves and winter hat
b. Bag of sand in case your tires get stuck in snow or slush
c. Leak proof container for coolant and a small shovel, ice scarper and a brush.
d. Most importantly – Snacks.
9. Jammed door locks – Always keep glycerine packs at various places like office drawers, garage etc so that you are able to open jammed car door without breaking the keys.
Bottom line – Get your car maintenance done on a regular basis, especially when the climate changes and Happy Winter