Preparing Your Vehicle for Northern Virginia Winters
Winter is on the horizon in the Warrenton area. As the trees
change and eventually lose their leaves, the upcoming cold temperatures and
snowfall in Northern Virginia are ready to take a toll on your vehicle. Of
everything your car needs to function this winter, there are a few key
components that are heavily affected by the freezing cold. If you don’t check
anything else, checking and repairing these key parts can save you time and
Without any more delay, here are the major components you
need to ensure that your vehicle will handle the NOVA winters:
Check Tire Pressure and Tread Depth
Tire pressure is directly tied to the temperature it’s exposed to. In fact, for every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tire deflates 1 PSI. It’s important to regularly check your pressure as the weather begins to grow colder to ensure you have the appropriate amount of inflation levels in your tires.
Additionally, it’s important before the first snow to check your treads to ensure they’re deep enough to handle the slicker roads. If one or all of your tires appears worn down, it’s important to replace that tire as soon as possible. Tread depth and inflation levels both directly affect the traction your vehicle gets on the road, which is essential in slick conditions. A properly inflated tired with the ideal amount of tread will keep you and your family from slipping off the road in slick conditions.
The worst feeling is coming outside on a freezing winter morning, turning your key and realizing the battery is completely dead. The age-old “dead battery surprise” is a dish best (or worst) served cold, as extremely cold temperatures can reduce a car battery life by as much as 50 percent.
That’s more than enough reason to have your battery levels checked in advance, just to make sure it isn’t operating at a lower capacity in the warm weather. That’s a recipe for disaster. Additionally, you’ll want to check your battery connections to ensure they aren’t too corroded, as that can make a jump-start emergency even more frustrating. To clean them, simply mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of hot water, and briefly scrub the connections with a toothbrush.
Check Fluids and Coolant
Antifreeze and engine coolant are among the most vital fluids that keep your car running hot while you’re feeling frozen. It’s important to ensure you’re at the right level of each before the cold northern wind reaches us. Many auto stores carry kits you can use to check your coolant levels for the appropriate mix, or we can do it for you here at Safford during an oil change.
Antifreeze can be purchased and easily topped off in your vehicle as you need it. In addition to fluids that keep your vehicle on the road, there are also fluids that prevent you from driving off the road when visibility is bad. You can begin switching your wiper fluid over to a winter-grade version as soon as possible, which will help keep ice from sticking to your window, as well as easily melt it off when it does start to stick.
A good rule of thumb for oil changes going into the colder months: the colder the weather is, the thinner the oil in your engine should be. How do you tell which oil is thinner? The lower the first numbers are in the verbiage, the thinner. That means 5W oil is thinner than 10W oil, and thus preferable in winter.
At Safford of Warrenton, every oil change we give comes with a full vehicle safety inspection. If you come to us for an oil change, we can help identify any of the issues above and give you peace of mind that your car is in the best condition to take on the winter months. Whether your battery needs checked or you fluids adjusted, our multi-point checkup will find any issues. If something is wrong, our team is prepared to tackle any maintenance to ensure you have a safe winter on the NOVA roads.