Car service providers can assist you to a certain degree in maintaining the durability of your vehicle during the winter season. Apart from your place of residence, your vehicle is an expensive investment in your life. Owning a car takes a lot of hard work! From paying special attention to its maintenance to ensuring its reliability and preventing breakdowns, the car needs your time and care.
Regular car service is important, especially during wintertime. Winter is a lovely time, making servicing your car ever so crucial. Taking care of your car will not only extend the life of your vehicle or keep your car’s performance at its peak, but also save you a lot of time in repairs down the road. What’s more, complimenting your car with some professional services can make your vehicle even more durable, and also help you save money on big maintenance. On the other hand, ignoring even a single issue can result in expensive and complicated repairs.
So, service your car, and see how your investment will pay you back. Certain preventative maintenance services should be performed ever so often. And, regular inspection is required to be done on important components like timing belts, head gaskets, spark plugs, fuel injection systems, and ignition wires/cables.
So, before the cold season hits, let’s dig down to the most amazing 35 car service tips and tricks for the winter that you can use through spring.
1 – Take Care of Your Battery!
It’s usual for your battery to give you a tough time during hot summer seasons. But, make your mind up that it’s more likely to be a problem during the cold season. It is sad, but the truth is that cold weather can be tough on your batteries, and battery failure is the most common issue being reported compared to any other problems. During winter, your battery can drop its charging regardless of how much you charge it. The matter gets worse with batteries over five years old. Such batteries give you a lot of stress due to reduced capability to hold their charge.
2 – Get Your Battery Tested and Charged
Test your vehicle’s battery whenever possible. Though your battery can survive between three to five years, the winter can make your battery die. Therefore, make sure to test your battery from your nearby mechanic shop ever so often. Regular testing can help you understand the condition of your car’s battery or if the battery needs to be recharged or replaced and also help you to keep track of how well you’re maintaining it.
Also, charge the battery with the alternator before you get into your car or turn on the ignition. Checking your battery will ensure that it is completely charged and also in good condition. It’s important to check and to keep your car battery charged as you don’t know that your battery isn’t resilient until it’s too late and you get stuck with a useless battery.
3 – Keep Your Battery Clean and Warm
Winter is an amazing time to enjoy those cold winds and white snow. But, when it comes to your car’s maintenance, the season can give you more challenges. Like you, your vehicle needs to be warm and clean. So, keep your car’s battery warm by parking it in a sheltered spot away from the intense winds. Car covers can also be a good option.
When it comes to cleaning your battery, apply a mixture of water and baking soda and scrub a little. Avoid too much scrubbing since low temperatures can thicken engine oil and increase electrical resistance. But it also makes the battery even work harder. Things like dust or corrosion on your battery terminals can add to this resistance. To avoid such things and make your battery work properly, clean your battery ever so often.
Note: if your car is taking more time to start, let it sit for two minutes before trying again. If, after trying again, it still doesn’t start, clean the battery connections and retry. The connections could be corroded or loose.
4 – Switch to a Less Viscous Oil
Another crucial step to take before cold temperatures move in and give you a surprise is to switch to a less thick oil. Seasons like winter are enough to make your engine oil thicken. During winter, change your oil. Switch to some less thick oil. While searching for a more viscous oil, make sure it is appropriate for your engine type.
5 – Invest in a Battery Charger
Invest in a battery charger suitable for the type of car you have. If your car starts when jumped, check to see if you left your lights on. If you did, drive the car for 30 minutes to charge the battery fully.
6 – Make Sure to Keep Your Battery Tightly Fastened
If your battery connections are loose, it could lead to internal damage. To avoid such damage, check to see if the terminal of your battery is properly positioned in the mounting bracket, especially when you are on uneven roads. Also, turn off the lights when you’re not driving and turn off the door lights whenever you exit to prevent a heavy toll on your vehicle’s battery.
7 – Replace Old Engine With A New One
Batteries, on average, can last at least three years, but if you have any doubts, it’s suggested to have a voltage test on them. Among many factors, the weather is the most important factor that affects your engine’s battery performance. During the cold winter, the chances of a severe drain on a battery are higher and enough to make your battery die, especially when you don’t take proper winter driving precautions. In case your battery isn’t holding much of a charge, it’s better to replace your old battery with a new one. Make sure your battery’s terminals are corrosion-free. It will ensure strong starts.
8 – Reinstall the Cables And Clamps
Have you purchased a new battery? Great! To install your new battery, connect the hold-down clamp, connect the cable to the positive-negative terminal, and then smear a little serum onto the terminal to slow corrosion. Your new battery should be charged when you purchase it. It’s suggested to ask any professional mechanic to understand your new battery needs or if it requires charging or any maintenance.
9 – Take Care of Your Car’s Engine!
Just like every other person, you also have a desire to experience no problems with your car. If you want your car working at peak performance, pay attention to your car’s engine as well. Maintaining your engine is vital as it’s a complex machine comprised of complicated mechanical and electrical systems. Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent many break downs and costly repairs while keeping your car fuel efficient.
10 – Choose the Best Oil For Your Vehicle
Make no compromise when choosing your car’s oil. The oil in an engine can change as per the temperature at which your vehicle is running. During the cold season, thinner or less viscous oil is the needed. Get the details and find out the best oil for your vehicle.
11 – Inspect Your Brake Fluid Levels And Tires Inflation
Navigating the potentially hazardous conditions in a cold season can be safer when your tire pressure is correct and there aren’t any brake problems. Problems with your brakes can be life-threatening. The situation can be worse during the freezing winter therfore get a professional who can inspect your brake fluid levels and brake pads.
12 – Check Steering Fluid and Fill Transmission
Rough weather brings many problems with it. When you’re on the road during winter, proper transmission is important to the safety of your car’s engine. Make sure your steering wheel has the proper amount of fluid and is working well. Also, check your car’s transmission fluid levels and differential fluids. Such fluids can transfer power to the wheels from the transmission.
13 – Check Windshield Fluid and fluid levels
A horrible experience on a cold day is to be stuck on the side of the road. To prevent such a situation you need to make sure that your car’s windshield is clear and vital fluids are all topped up. Clean your car’s windshield to have a safe winter driving experience. Get your wiper blades inspected and regulated to see if they are working efficiently and safely. You can also head into the local service center for a comprehensive checkup. Also, make sure that you check your windshield wiper fluid once a month during winter.
14 – Check Your Air Filter
Check your air filter every twelve months. At the mechanic shop you can get the filter replaced without any fuss. You can also get it done on your own and save the trip to the mechanic and save your money. The procedure is simple: locate your filter, get the casing out and see how the filter is fit. Make a note of the filter’s directions and remove it and insert the new filter. Also, close the metal clips and clean out the debris from your new filter. It will improve the life of the filter and make it more functional. Also, pay special attention to its maintenance. Ignorance towards your air filter should be avoided.
15 – Keep your Engine from Overheating
Burned fuel can generate a lot of heat. The reason behind fuel burning can be a malfunction on your cooling system since the job of your cooling system is to keep the temperature of the engine within proper limits. This way, having routine check-ups on the coolant levels in your engine is crucial. Also, pay special attention for any signs of a coolant leak on your car. In case your engine temperature is excessive, consult with a professional.
16 – Replace Worn Out Drive Belts with New Ones
The drive belt runs the compressor and can lose its functionality with time, making the vehicle’s engine disabled. A squeaking sound can be the sign that your drive belt requires checking. The drive belt may be inspected when you change the oil of your engine.
17 – Change Your Engine
If your engine isn’t working as it should be, chances are you’re in for some expensive repair, or maybe you need a new one. An engine replacement can help save you thousands of precious dollars and also keep your car’s engine running smoothly.
General Car Servicing Tips You Need To Follow During the Winter Season
18 – Don’t show Hastiness During the Break-in Period
Your investment, your car, is in your garage, and you’re looking to keep it in top condition. Here are several tips to turn your goal into reality:
- Be very careful when on the road. Avoid racing. Don’t be reckless when driving, especially if it’s cold outside.
- Accelerate slowly when driving a vehicle. Use only light to medium acceleration.
- Never exceed your speed limit.
- Avoid heavy loading materials on the drive train and loading the trunk with heavy materials used in construction.
- Drive your car when necessary. Constant idleness for a long period is not good for your vehicle, especially during a break-in period.
- Avoid driving at high speeds, especially during winter. It can cost you in the form of more frequent repairs.
The cold season brings many joyful things and pleasurable activities to enjoy. Remember it’s common to get stuck in grime, soil, or snow during winter season. Take it easy whenever your car gets stuck in the snow. Avoid hastiness, as it can only make the situation worse. However, you can make some attempts at dislodging your car by gently rocking. Throwing your car from drive to reverse again and again, as well as spinning tires can only spell a problem for your transmission. Also, you can call a tow truck rather than taking the risk of big repairs.
19 – Lighten Up Your Keychain And Keep An Auto Log
Is your car key sharing a key chain with other keys? If yes, then it’s quite a heavy load. Heavy key chains may seem normal but can end up causing ignition switch failure. A lightweight key chain, on the other hand, can enhance the performance of your ignition switch and also allow you to separate your ignition key from others. Only drive with the ignition key.
20 – Protect Your Car during Long-Term Idleness
It’s been more than thirty days that your car has not been active. That’s ok, just make sure to have frequent ignition starts to prevent any damage and repairs down the road. Also, make sure to keep the gas tank full. Keeping it full will help to avoid condensation from accumulating in the tank. Adding a fuel stabilizer may help with engine parts as well.
Here are several other tips to protect your car during long-term idleness:
- Wash your vehicle regularly with eco-friendly cleaners.
- Place a vapor barrier on the floor of your garage.
- Disengage the brake.
- Put your car’s weight on the tires by putting your car on jack stands.
- Prevent moist air from infiltrating by plugging the tailpipe with a rag.
21 – Always Park Your Car in the Shade
Always find some shade when parking your car to reduce the risks of interior damage from harmful rays or heat. You can also invest in a car windshield shade. The simpler way to minimize the sun’s impact is to park your car under a tree. If you’re wondering why you need shade for your car, here are some valid reasons:
Shade helps protect the vulnerable elements of your vehicle. UV rays are believed to damage the windscreen and its protective coating. Installing a car shade cover can help avoid such issues.
Parking in the shade can keep the interior of your car cool and also makes it easier to jump into your car without waiting for the steering wheel to cool down.
Shade prevents the gas from evaporating and can even has a positive effect on your fuel consumption.
If you have an electric car, park it in the shade. Parking in the shade may make your charging time 15 minutes faster.
22 – Clean Your Car’s Inside
Routine vacuuming of your car’s interior is also important. On the other hand, dirt and debris are coarse as well and spilled liquids can cause corrosion. Use your domestic upholstery cleaners and avoid saturating the fabric or brushing the fibers too harshly. Upholstery cleansers will help preserve the original texture of the fabric.
Vacuum your car’s interior with an appropriate vacuum. Avoid the bare metal wand as it can scratch surfaces. Wipe out any grime or soil from the plastic lenses on your dashboard with a soft damp cloth. Make sure not to put excessive pressure. Too many scratches, under certain conditions, can make you unable to read your gauges.
Keep your door and window seals in good condition as well. Regular cleaning of your car’s weather-stripping can lessen the possibility of your door sticking to its rubber seal during cold seasons. Also, avoid using oil-based products. Such products can deteriorate the rubber.
Use floor mats and preserve the carpeting. Wash them as required, or you can also replace them if required. Rubber waffle-style mats are one of the best types for controlling mude and slush in winter. Carpet-style mats are also helpful.
Avoid allowing compost to collect in your vehicle. Organic materials such as twigs and leaves can be a reason for widespread destruction with grooves and panels. The chances of getting corrosion are doubled when scattered pieces of remains build up in areas of your vehicle. If a you a sunroof, open it and check for dirt, leaves, and grime.
23 – Wash Mats Properly
While washing your car, you should remove the carpet floor mats first. To take out any grime, use a pressure hose if applicable. For stubborn stains, apply rug detergent after vacuuming the carpeting. Also, spread the detergent with a sponge and make sure to vacuum when it dries.
24 – Fix Bad Weather-stripping without any Delay
Consider the weather-stripping to keep your car safe from the rainwater leakage inside the car. Bad weather-stripping can mean you need a repair or change.
Small leaks, however, are manageable with brush-on seam sealers. Shredded sections can also be fixed. You can prolong the life of suspicious parts by injecting foam rods into the resonating section of the weather-stripping. If you choose to substitute the whole sections of the gasket, avoid using generic brands. Purchase a quality product that suits your car.
25 – Keep Leather Save from Cracking
Leather car seats are durable and require little maintenance, however, with time, your car seats can lose their luster or get soiled making it crucial to use a leather cleaner. Using a reliable cleaner can help you take out dirt and stains. Apply a leather protectant formulated for a top-coated grain leather. Choose a protectant with conditioners to withstand smudges and keep your leather supple while making the padding hassle-free to clean.
Invest in a fender cover before servicing or repairing your vehicle. It will keep your tools secure and protect them from advanced oxidation. Moreover, it will help keep the buckle of your belt from damaging the paint.
26 – Use a Wheel Cleaner
When driving wheels inevitably get dirty. The dirt will decrease the effectiveness of the brake pads of your car and the formula for these stains is very tough to remove during a simple car wash service. The car wash is simply not sufficient for these kinds of stains, but there are wheel cleaners available in the market that target the tough stains of the wheels and solve your problem. The key is to select the right kind of the product as per your wheel type. For instance, you may have a metal wheel, painted wheel,or clear-coat wheel. You may need a coat of wax for the painted wheel and polish for the metal wheel.
27 – Lubricate Lug Nuts
Lug nuts is a small but tricky parts of your car, and it demands maintenance. If you don’t lubricate them frequently they may seize to the studs because of corrosion. Repair costs for lug nut damage is a lot and calling a truck to tow your car in the middle of the highway is even costlier. Remind yourself that whenever you change or rotate the tires to also check and possibly lubricate the lug nuts. Wire brushing helps you to clean threads of the studs and anti-seize formulas help to lubricate them. It helps in the prevention of ‘seizing’ of the lug nuts while you drive.
28 – Inspect and Check Your Car’s Wheel Alignment
Check your wheel alignment after purchasing a new one or when replacing steering parts of the car. Improper alignment of tires can take out the value of your tires and can be a reason for poor handling. You are most likely to have an alignment issue if the steering of your car is stiff or the car pulls to one direction.
Hubcaps, center caps, and wheel covers, if not reinstalled as they should be, can damage your car’s wheels while you are driving. Ask a professional to fix this problem for you.
29 – Keep Caps on and Maintain Proper Inflation
Ever got up one morning and realized you had a flat tire? A leaky valve can be one reason behind a flat tire. It’s therefore suggested to keep your tire valves with caps on and make sure to ask a mechanic if you need a new valve with the tires in case they’re missing.
Under-inflated tires can produce excessive heat. Make the most of your tires with a tire pressure gauge. Make use of this gauge no less than once a month. It will let you know if your tires need inflating.
30 – Beware and Uneven Wear
Moisture inside tires can create pressure variations and rust rims. Also, make sure to maintain your tire inflation appropriately. Bumpy rides mean that your wheels need realignment or they may also mean one is operating a bent wheel, brakes, or shocks. It may also be a case of tire damage or deteriorated bushings.
31 – Make Your Car Ready For Winter by Installing Winter Tires
If you have winter tires during winter they’re good because they keep you safe on the road. Check your car tires frequently throughout the winter season. Also, rotate your tires to distribute tire wear and to maximize your road life out of them. The first rotation is said to be of great importance. Make sure to rotate your tires every 6000 miles or contact your car dealer to obtain the correct pattern for rotating tires.
32 – Check Your Windshield Wipers, Heaters, And Radiators
Before the cold weather sets in, it is recommended to get your heaters checked to ensure that they’re working properly. Check this in advance so that you have a functioning heating system for winter.
Along with heaters, also pay special attention to your radiators: The fact is if you have not adequately filled your radiator with good antifreeze, the fluid could get hard or cause buildup, causing a leak or eventually hindering the transmission. Be sure to check the radiator and antifreeze.
When it comes to your safety while driving, you will agree that dealing with snow is daunting because the visibility is poor. Check if your windshield wipers work properly. Also, supply these windshield wipers with the fluid used in the colder weather with antifreeze abilities.
33 – Have an Emergency Kit with You when You’re on the Road
You have no idea what the next moment can bring to you while you’re driving, especially if it’s dark outside and you’re not close to your place of residence. You may not expect this to happen to you. Unfortunately, if you end up in such a situation and find yourself unable to get the needed support, you’ll be grateful for having an emergency kit in your vehicle. Your emergency kit must contain a flashlight, blanket, foodstuff, jumper cables, shovel, water, and salt or sand. Also, keep your mobile charger with you to have your mobile phone fully charged.
34 – Check if All the Indicators, Lights, Mirrors Are Clean
It’s important to have comprehensive check-ups on full beam headlights, indicators, and fog lights. Also, clean the windscreen thoroughly from inside and outside and refill your liquids for the windscreen and radiator.
35 – Be Prepared For A Long Journey
Planning for a long drive? Well, read the travel news, know about the safest routes and see the weather forecast, especially during winter season. Since the weather is cold and smog is common, it’s better to know the safest routes and avoid the rush. Also, wash your car’s windows with a scraper or a deicer.
36 – Examine Car Frequently During Winter
During winter frequently checking your car is important. Make sure to keep a tank filled with fuel with you and check the engine’s oil ever so often. Even if you have very little understanding of motors, inspect the brake pads, brake fluid, and brake discs and ensure their responsiveness. Also, make sure that the alternator drive belts and fan belts are secure.
Get the right levels of water and antifreeze (the ideal mix is 50/50) in your vehicle especially when you’re on the road during freezing nights and long drive days. You may ask a professional to take care of this one for you unless you have got some experience in checking your antifreeze.
Avoid unnecessary bills on car service and subsequent car repairs. The aforementioned tips may extend the life of your car.
Why is Regular Car Service Important during Winter?
Servicing your vehicle is in your best interest. Whether you own a brand-new expensive car or driving an old one, regular servicing is important, and as mentioned above, it’s even more crucial in winter.
Having your car serviced on your own or by a professional could prevent expensive repairs and damages down the road. Parts need to be replaced before they no longer work properly. Even windscreen wiper blades can wear to the point where they’re no longer possible to see where you’re going in the rain.
According to one survey, it is recommended that one have a specialized service every 3,000 miles. You may only have a simple oil change or can get your vehicle thoroughly checked which may include service and safety checks. Changing the oil is the most vital part of a car service. Not changing your oil regularly can prevent the engine from being correctly lubricated and even could result in engine failure and a costly repair. Having regular service will help you prevent such problems and save you money.
Here are several reasons showing why regular service is important during winter:
- A well-serviced car is a clean one with less carbon footprint or emissions. Regular maintenance can keep automotive fluids such as oil, gasoline, and antifreeze from leaking.
- Unfortunately, thousands of car accidents occur every year because of poor maintenance of vehicles such as worn out brakes, improperly inflated or damaged tires, tattered wiper blades, or leakage of gas. All such things can make accidents happen, but can be preventable with routine inspection and maintenance.
- A routine inspection can help you understand your vehicle and identify better the little issues that are simple to solve.
- A car that is properly maintained will not just look good but also work better. Small issues like a cracked hose or a fragile battery may leave you high and dry.
- Perhaps the most important reason behind taking care of your vehicle is that it protects the manufacturer’s warranty on your vehicle. To maintain the warranty, inspect or maintain your vehicle. Also, make sure to adhere to the service periods specified by the manufacturer to familiarize yourself with not only when your car is due for a check-up but also what occurs when it is being repaired or maintained. Not servicing your vehicle under the guidelines your manufacturers ask could nullify the warranty, meaning you’ll have to pick up the cost for any repairs done on your vehicle.
- Second to your home or investing in a property, a car is one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make, making every sense why you need to guard your financial output as best you can by having your car in the best possible health.
- Servicing your car ever so often can increase its value when you want to sell and need to show full-service history from a recognized dealership.
Thusly, having a car serviced before and during winter will:
- Help the engine work properly and without major problems.
- Enhance the economy of your fuel.
- Extend the life of your vehicle’s engine.
- Protect you and your loved ones while on the road.
- Give you peace of mind and satisfaction.