Don’t worry, we won't leave you out in the cold. We've compiled this list of winter car maintenance ideas to ensure that your vehicle is ready for whatever the season has in store for you. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and go through our checklist on safeguarding your car for the winter.
A Winter Ready Car (tips and tricks)
If you plan ahead of time, you'll be prepared for anything the colder months throw at you (and your car) and potentially prevent costly repair expenses. If your car’s not up to scratch for the winter roads, chat to us about an upgrade! Apply for a car loan today.
1. Check your tyre tread
When preparing your vehicle for winter, examine your tyres for tread wear and rotate them at each oil change. Use the "Coin Test" to examine the tread on your tyres. To do this insert a coin into your tyre's tread groove to check how much tread you have left. If there is no clear ‘slot’ you can slip a coin into, it’s likely time to change your tyres.
2. Pump your tyres up
Tyres with low air pressure might be problematic on winter roads. Take your vehicle to a professional to check your tyre pressure and, if required, fill it. If you're familiar with monitoring tyre pressure, you can do it yourself using a free tyre air pump at your local petrol station.
3. Think about winter tyres
If you’re in the South Island or mountain roads where there is heavy snow on steep terrain, using snow tyres can aid with grip while driving on icy and slippery roads.
Check your battery
The last thing you want to do is have to jump-start your vehicle, especially in the cold. Unfortunately, cold weather makes starting the engine more difficult and places a greater demand on car batteries. As a result, it’s critical to guarantee that your battery will not fail when you need it the most.
To improve & optimise battery life, you should:
- Keep your battery's connections clean and tight.
- Remove any dirt from your automobile battery's case with a cloth.
- Check that the water level in the batteries is just over the battery plates (if it’s not a completely sealed battery).
- On some batteries, a small spherical viewing glass is built into the battery's top. Green should be visible through this little window. If another colour is shown, it may be time to replace your battery.
Other important aspects to observe and consider when getting your car Winter ready are:
Inspecting the wipers
Examine your wipers for any signs of wear or damage, such as splitting. If they aren't successfully cleaning your windshield, replace them right away. Consider using a winter wiper blade, which often has a robust coating that prevents slush and snow from freezing joints. Also, change your wiper fluid to a winter version that de-ices your windscreen.
Speaking of de-icer, keeping track of your fluids is essential for keeping your car winter ready. Check the levels of your oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. You may also add some anti-freeze to your engine coolant. Finally, examine the engine for any visible frayed or otherwise damaged pipes and hoses. Cold weather puts additional strain on your car's systems, so check for any apparent flaws before winter arrives.
Regularly inspect and clean your external lights
Salt and grime can quickly accumulate, decreasing the efficiency of the lights and your visibility to other road users. Therefore, it is advisable to have your lights on in all weather conditions since it enables you to be noticed. Carry spare bulbs in case of a failure but try to learn how to replace them when it's convenient as a bulb may blow when you least expect it.
Try and park your car in a garage
If possible, keep your car out of the cold. This reduces the pressure on the battery charging mechanism and saves your battery from being drained by cold conditions.
Perform routine car maintenance
A pound of cure is worth an ounce of prevention. Keep this in mind while you visit your AA car repair and maintenance professional regularly. They'll be able to monitor your car’s overall performance including its charging system and detect minor difficulties before they become major ones.
And that’s it! Preparing your car for winter is essential, and it’s the season to get it all in order. Don't put off testing your tyres, windscreen, and anything else before the temperatures drop further.