Avoiding Winter Season Car Emergencies Through Winter-Weather Preventive Maintenance

by Felix Ray

As harsh winter weather rolls in, auto repair shops are inundated with a 25% increase in customers requesting emergency service. The emergencies are the result of freezing weather contributing to major vehicle problems. Honestly, a lot of these troubles could have been avoided. Help yourself out. Prior to the weather taking a turn for the worst, request the preventive maintenance necessary to reduce the chances of winter-related damage to your car.

Replace Worn or Balding Tires

Old and worn tires might be acceptable during moderate climates. When the temperature nosedives and the streets are snowy and icy, balding tires with weak traction could cause a vehicle to slide. To avoid crashing your vehicle, be sure new tires are placed on the vehicle long before the snow starts to fall.

Buy a New Battery

Even if your aging battery is running fine, you should consider buying a new one when the end of the life expectancy is nearing and a cold winter has arrived. In an aging and freezing battery, the acid could break down severely. Cold weather also kills batteries and jump-starting a battery when the acid is in bad shape could destroy the unit.

The average life of a car battery is in the range of four years. If it has been more than three years since you replaced your battery and the car has previously been exposed to brutal cold weather, stay on the safe side and install a new one. Do not make the mistake of waiting until the four years have elapsed. Again, you have to modify how you do things to overcome winter-related woes.

A dead battery in frigid weather is not just inconvenient. Your safety becomes compromised since you no longer have a functioning vehicle in very bad weather. 

Change the Oil Early

When the temperature drops, motor oil becomes thicker. As a result, the oil is less effective or efficient as it would be when honey colored and reliably thinner. Running thicker motor oil through the vehicle could lead to engine damage. Remember, the engine is going to already be stressed by the frigid weather. Why compound any problems? 

If you are due for an oil change at 4,000 miles and 3,000 miles has already been reached, take a precautionary step by changing the still fairly clean oil. The oil will be aging by this point. While the oil would be fine under optimal conditions, freezing weather is hardly optimal. Changing the oil "prematurely" is another way to avoid a potential emergency. Be sure to take your car to a professional like Covey's Auto early in the winter so it's ready to handle the changing weather.