As the beautiful fall leaves make way to snowy and frigid temperatures it’s easy to huddle up in your cozy home and stay there but at some point, you’ll have to get in your car to travel. Even if you’re only planning short trips to the grocery store, it’s essential that your vehicle is ready for the winter months to avoid no-starts, frozen doors, and windows, engine freeze-up, and accidents. 

Nearly 70-percent of the population lives in snowy regions, and more than 70-percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy areas, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on the snowy, slushy or icy pavement each year. In New York, we know all too well about these conditions so it’s imperative to know how to handle these conditions and ensure your car is as safe and mechanically sound as possible. Here are some things you need to do to your vehicle before the snowflakes start flying, according to the Family Handyman.

Wash your car often:
The winter months can wreak havoc on your car in terms of salt and debris buildup which can cause rust and other issues. Ensure you are washing your vehicle frequently to prevent buildup. 

Test your battery:
Car batteries have a limited life. Don't wait for yours to fail and leave you stranded.

Clean Your Battery Terminals:
Corrosion buildup on battery posts and terminals can cause hard starting problems in cold weather and prevent your charging system from fully recharging your battery.

Protect Your Battery Terminals:
Reduce future battery terminal corrosion with a battery terminal protectant spray. Once the battery terminals are cleaned and re-installed, spray each terminal with a liberal coating of battery terminal protectant spray.

Lubricate Window Tracks:
Freezing water can seep into the window tracks and create drag when you try to open the window. That drag can damage the window regulator cables, costing you almost $300. You can avoid the problem entirely by lubricating the window tracks with spray silicone or dry teflon spray lubricant.

Lube Weather Stripping:
If water seeps between your door and weather stripping and freezes, you could be frozen out of your car or truck. To prevent the water from freezing you out, coat both the weather stripping and the mating door surfaces with spray silicone.

Lube Your Door Locks:
You probably don't use your door and trunk locks very much if you have remote keyless entry, but that's no reason to ignore them. In fact, if you don't keep the lock cylinders lubricated they'll corrode, making it impossible for you to use your key. If your key fob battery ever dies, you'll be locked out and have to call a locksmith.

Lube Latches and Hinges:
The last thing you want to deal with when you've got a dead battery is a sticking hood latch. Since the latch mechanism sits right behind your grille, they corrode and seize from all the salt spray that gets kicked up by the cars in front of you. You can prevent that corrosion by lubricating the latch mechanism before the snow flies.

Check Tire Tread Depth:
Worn tires are your worst enemy in winter. They increase your stopping distance and decrease stability on wet roads. Even though most states have a 2/32-in. minimum tread depth standard, independent tests have shown that tire traction decreases dramatically once your tires wear beyond 4/32-in. To check the depth of your tread, use an inexpensive tire tread depth gauge (from any auto parts store). Check the tread depth in the center and outer edges of each tire. If your readings are less than 4/32-in., head right to a tire store.

Consider Winter Tires:
Winter tires could save your life. Winter tires provide much more traction on snow, getting you started 33% faster from a stop sign and reducing your stopping distance by almost 30-ft. compared to all-season tires. Winter tires even perform better on ice, stopping you 48% faster and reducing side skid in turns.

Check Your Coolant:
Engine coolant does more than protect your engine from freezing and cracking. Coolant also contains anti-corrosive additives and water pump lubricants to keep your entire cooling system in tip-top shape.

Switch to Winter Wiper Blades:
Ordinary wiper blades get packed with snow, causing the blade to streak or miss large swaths of your windshield. Winter wiper blades eliminate that problem.

Replace the Cabin Air Filter:
Cabin air filters are one of the most neglected maintenance items on late model cars and trucks. You may think it’s unimportant, but a clogged cabin air filter can dramatically reduce airflow through your car's heater, stressing the blower motor and overheating the blower motor resistor.

Build Your Own Winter Survival Kit:
You probably already have a few of the items in this winter car survival kit in your garage but they and few other things belong in the car! All you need to do is put them together in a box, in your car during winter for roadside emergencies. So equipped, you'll be ready to deal with most winter roadside breakdowns, and avoid getting frostbite or freezing to death in the process! This is particularly true for those of you that live or drive through rural, sparsely populated areas where being stuck in a blizzard can cost you your life.

  • Candle-Powered Heater
  • Small LED Flashlight
  • Cell Phone Car Charger
  • Notepad and Pen or Pencil
  • Portable Air Compressor
  • Simple Tool Kit
  • Safety Absorbent
  • Jumper Cables
  • Foldable Shovel
  • Fix-a-Flat
  • First Aid Kit
  • Warm Hat, Gloves and a blanket

There’s an old saying that goes, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This can be especially true if you don’t properly maintain and prepare your vehicle for the winter months. 

Established in 2003, Paradise Car Wash is a family-owned and operated, full-service car wash and auto appearance center. Our family has owned businesses in Yorkville, Illinois for three generations and are happy to continue the tradition and serve our community with Paradise Car Wash. Our goal is to provide the highest level of service and satisfaction to our customers. Paradise Car Wash offers a full line of services from a basic car wash to a complete expert detailing of your vehicle. CALL US: (630) 553-9274