Car Care Tips for the Winter Months

November 30, 2021

Winter car maintenance is important, even living here in California. The Central Valley might not see snow, but temperatures regularly dip below freezing. That still has a negative effect on your vehicle—and if you’re headed up to the mountains for skiing and snowboarding, it’s worth knowing how to care for your vehicle during and after the trip.

Here are some tips to help you care for your car during the winter:

  • Check your lights: Wintertime tule fog leads to fatal crashes every year. Make sure to check that all of your lights are working so other drivers can see you in the fog—and remember to never use your brights in foggy conditions.
  • Replace wiper blades and fluid: Replacing your wiper blades is an easy and inexpensive way to ensure you’ll be able to see clearly throughout the winter. Make sure to top off the fluid when you’re done.
  • Maintain or replace the battery: Cold temperatures can negatively affect your battery. If your battery was already weak in the summer, it can completely die when the temperatures drop. Test and replace your battery as soon as possible, so you don’t get stuck in a tough spot.
  • Flush and fill coolant: To make sure your engine still operates, even in cold temperatures, be sure to flush your coolant and replace it with fresh fluid (most mechanics suggest a 50/50 water/coolant blend). Look for leaks during this process, and have them repaired accordingly.
  • Consider winter tires: If you expect to head out in the snow often this season, you might want to get some winter tires. They grip the road better and stay flexible at lower temperatures.
  • Check your tire pressure: Even if you don’t choose winter tires, make sure to check your tire pressure. Hot and cold temperatures both affect your tire pressure—your wheels may be underinflated in the winter.
  • Test your heater and defroster: Don’t forget to make sure your heater and defroster work properly. It’s important for your safety and comfort, especially when temperatures regularly dip below 45 degrees.
  • Update your first aid/emergency kit: Finally, this is a good time to update your first aid and emergency kit. Make sure you have a working flashlight, backup batteries, flares, thermal blanket, phone charger and extra battery, ice scraper, deicer and a multi-tool. These items will ensure you’re prepared for any emergency, especially if you’re stuck on the side of the road. If you plan to travel on long trips, consider keeping bottled water and nonperishable food in your trunk.

Winter car maintenance is crucial. Many of us will be on the road more than usual, whether that’s to visit family or hit the slopes. The better shape your vehicle is in, the less likely you’ll suffer breakdowns, blowouts, dead batteries and other mishaps.

If you need help taking care of your car in the winter, bring it to AAA Sandoval Transmissions. We can help you make sure your vehicle is in top shape—call today to get started.

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