How to Protect Your Car from Winter Cold?

How to Protect Your Car from Winter Cold?

Undoubtedly, the number of car breakdowns increases during the winter months. The best thing you can do before the cold sets in is to take some preventive measures to protect yourself! How can you shield your car from winter woes? Let's look at 7 simple steps that we'll explain in detail!

1. Check the Battery (and Replace if Necessary)

Check the Battery

At temperatures below freezing, a good battery will lose its power, and a dead one will completely "die." To avoid this happening to you in the middle of the road, connect a voltmeter to the battery and check its voltage in two phases: - At engine start (the voltage should be above 10V) - When the engine is running (the voltage should be above 12V) If the readings are lower, it's best to replace the battery immediately, as it might leave you stranded in the middle of winter.

2. Check Engine Fluid Levels (and Top Up if Necessary)

Check Engine Fluid Levels

If you're not ready to check the levels yourself, consult a professional and inspect all the car's fluids: - Engine oil level. If you live in an area with very low temperatures, remember that the ideal oil for your engine should have low viscosity, meaning it should be "liquid." - Antifreeze level. It should be between the min and max marks. Regarding the type of antifreeze, consult your owner's manual or a specialized service center, as not all antifreezes are the same. - Windshield washer fluid. Add a special antifreeze washer fluid to the tank, not water. And don't forget to check the condition of the wipers and wiper blades. - Brake fluid, clutch fluid, and any other technical fluids. Tip: Try not to let the gas tank empty out entirely; maintain a medium fuel level. This is advice you should always follow, especially in winter! Learn more in our article on 6 bad habits that ruin your car.

3. Check the Tires

Check the Tires

Your safety depends on the condition of your tires, so give this point special attention! First, check the manufacturing date of the tires. Are they fresh enough or worn out? How many kilometers have they traveled? If you've driven over 30,000 km or the tires are over 3-4 years old, it's time to replace them! Inspect each tire around the perimeter for wear, cuts, bulges, and other signs of deformation due to time and use. Evaluate the tread condition and groove depth. You can do this empirically with a coin (Americans call this the penny check) or consult a professional who can give you an answer. Generally, when the tire surface is worn and the groove depth is less than 1.6 mm, the tire should be replaced. A new tire has a groove depth of 7 mm.

Winter Tires: The Key to Safe Winter Travel

If you frequently drive on icy roads where snow, ice, and below-zero temperatures are common, it's worth buying a set of winter tires! Winter tires are designed to work most efficiently at a road temperature of around -7°C, providing excellent traction even on two-wheel drive cars and can save you from unpleasant situations. In recent years, drivers increasingly buy winter tires in sets with used rims and install them each year with the cold season. This way, they don't prematurely wear down summer tires and, more importantly, travel safely.

4. Inspect Brakes and Lights

Inspect Brakes and Lights

Ensure the brake pads still have enough material to last through winter, that the brake discs are even and in good condition, and that the brake fluid level is correct. Check everything and replace any worn components immediately! It's about your safety! As important as it is to see the road well at night, it's equally crucial to be seen by others. Make sure all lights — headlights, brake lights, fog lights, turn signals, emergency lights — work flawlessly, and the headlight lenses are clean!

5. Assemble an Emergency Kit

Assemble an Emergency Kit

This may seem excessive, but a small bag with essentials will help you feel (and be) safer! The emergency kit should contain everything you might need in that fateful moment when you're stuck or stranded in the snow and cold. For starters, it should include:

  • A first aid kit, which should always be in the car
  • Anti-skid chains
  • Gloves, boots, and a foldable shovel in case you need to dig yourself out of the snow
  • A mobile phone charger
  • A tow rope in case you need to be towed
  • Jumper cables to jump-start the engine from an external source
  • A warning triangle and reflective vest to make you visible
  • A flashlight and spare batteries
  • An ice scraper to remove ice from windows
  • A blanket in case you need to stay in the car with the engine off for a while
  • Water, dry rations, and matches

Depending on your personal needs and preferences, you can add more items. Make a list of essentials, pack them in a bag, and leave it in the trunk for the entire winter. You never know when you might need them... In any case, you should always be ready!

6. Washing and Waxing

Washing and Waxing

A great way to preserve your car's value over time is regular washing (inside and out) and waxing twice a year. Washing removes salts and dirt that corrode metal parts, destroys harmful bacteria that cause unpleasant smells in the interior, and waxing protects the paintwork from the sun, snow, and other particles present in the environment. Now is the perfect time! Start with a thorough wash, remove all dirt from the interior, and continue with waxing to protect the car from harsh winter, ice, and anything that can damage the beautiful paint. It's essential; try it!

7. Check the Heating System

Check the Heating System

What would you do if your car's heating system didn't work? You'd freeze or have to wear warm clothing, hindering driving. No one should drive in such conditions. Behind the wheel, you should feel comfortable and focus solely on the road ahead. Without heating, driving in harsh winter weather becomes challenging. Check the heating and ventilation systems to ensure the interior will be warm in winter and the ventilation effectively defrosts the windows.

You deserve the best car!