When the mercury dips over the winter, the last thing a driver wants is end up stranded on the side of the road in the cold.
While you can’t control that inevitable cold front, you can take steps to prepare yourself for a car break down and keep your vehicle in top shape.
Here is your checklist to help keep your vehicle from breaking down in the cold.
Check your oil
Keeping your car in top condition means using engine oil that can withstand the heat. But did you know your oil also needs protection from the cold?
If you’re expecting a sudden drop in temperatures, be sure to get an oil change with winterized oil options. All winter-proof oils are designated with a “W,” such as 5W20.
The best options to aim for have lower viscosity levels, meaning cold temperature won’t gunk up your motor oil and help smooth your ride. Too viscous of an oil in winter could lead your engine to seize up when you need it the most.
Keep your gas tank full
One small step that could keep your engine from freezing up is keeping a full tank of gas.
If you don’t keep your tank full, the accumulated moisture could freeze in your gas lines. Once that happens, you will likely have to wait for the weather to slightly warm before starting your vehicle.
This tip becomes increasingly important if you are taking a road trip. Make sure before stopping for the day your tank is filled.
Avoid strains on your battery
In cold weather, your car’s battery is under unusual strain so you should aim to put as little pressure on it as possible.
If you have an option of parking your car inside, do so to avoid strong drops in temperature. Many drivers have complained about strong cold fronts completely draining the charge on their batteries.
Also, be sure to check your terminals frequently for any corrosion. A corroded battery is more susceptible to cold-induced breakdowns, meaning you need to keep a frequent watch.
Invest in winter tires
Like motor oil, there are multiple options for tires designed for summer or winter months.
According to experts, a summer tire loses around 1 pound of pressure for every 10 degrees of temperature dropped. That means you should be on top of keeping your tires pressurized.
Also, you may want to consider investing in a set of winter tires that have thicker rubber and are less susceptible to the cold. Look for tires that have thick rubber walls and are specifically designed for the cold.
In conclusion …
Here are few things to do to keep your vehicle from breaking down in the cold:
- Change your oil – Look for motor oils with less viscosity and a “W” designation
- Fill your tank – An empty gas tank could cause freezing in your gas lines
- Take it easy on your battery – Avoid leaving lights on or plugging into your cigarette lighter
- Invest in tires – Either monitor your tire pressure or invest in a winter set