Looking forward to a White Christmas? You’re obviously leaving Florida!
If you’re taking your car, be sure to add car maintenance and winterization costs in addition to your other vacation costs like hotels, food, and gas. For native Floridians who need a quick refresher course on maintaining your car in cold weather, we’ve got a few tips for you.
1. Antifreeze is crucial. We may not have to worry much about antifreeze in Florida, but if you’re going to a colder part of the country, it’s critical. Your mechanic can tell you whether your antifreeze is up to spec or whether it needs to be replaced. While you’re at it, check all your fluids!
2. Get winter tires. Winter tires will provide much more grip in snow or ice. Although your existing all-weather tires may be adequate, you have to be extra-sure that they’re not worn. Low-profile tires can be more prone to skidding, so you may need to replace them with tires that are better for winter conditions.
3. Check the tire pressure – think “low in cold.” Cold tires lose pressure. A good rule of thumb for measuring this is 1 pound of pressure for every 10° Fahrenheit. So if your tires were set at a typical 85° in Florida, they could be as much as 6 pounds down if you’re driving through Maine. Underinflated tires give you less grip and make you more prone to skidding.
4. Replace the wipers. You’re likely to encounter bad weather, so ensure your wipers are up to the job. If they’re more than a year old, they’ll almost certainly need replacing.
5. Charge the battery. Starting your car in cold weather will take more out of your battery, and it won’t charge as quickly. If you’re doing a lot of short runs, you can easily find that you end up with a dead battery. Charge it fully before winter starts, and replace it if it’s old.
6. Clean and wax the lights. When the weather gets bad, you’ll be grateful for every bit of light you can get. Wipe them clean, and then apply car wax to reduce the likelihood of ice buildup.
7. Remove the debris. Get rid of any stray leaves and twigs on the car. In cold, damp weather, these turn into a wet mess that will corrode your car and smell bad.
Please stay safe, warm, and merry this winter! If you have questions about winterizing your vehicle, give us a call. We do all major repairs, tune-ups, and free diagnostics to keep you safe on the road for the holidays.