Winter is coming! People can fight the cold with warm clothing and space heating. But we should not forget about our “iron friends”. Cars, both expensive new and old budget ones, also need protection from the cold during the winter season. Operation of your car in extreme winter conditions is associated with the strong cold, temperature extremes, road treatment with reagents, ice, “mess” of snow and mud, and other factors. Take care of your car, and it will reward you in severe period with trouble-free operation, stability in emergency situations and comfort on journeys. So let’s upgrade.
We check the work of the heating system before the cold weather sets in. Probably, the salt deposits have blocked a radiator or branch pipes, conducting or taking away a coolant. It also happens that the engine temperature does not exceed +60 degrees, and it is cold in the cabin. This may be due to a faulty thermostat valve, as a result of which the fluid circulates in a large circle. In this case, simply change the thermostat.
The front seats in cars usually have a heating function, but the rear seats do not. To keep the passengers in the back warm, we equip these seats with heaters as well.
If heating, at least of front seats, is available in almost every modern car, steering wheel heating is an option of expensive cars only. But we can arrange it ourselves. We search the Internet for installation set of heating and buy it.
Insulation of salon and engine compartment will allow you to protect from cold. Of course, there is a control system in the engine, which maintains optimum temperature mode, but you should not rely on it too much. Often in severe frosts, this system considers the engine unheated, which may negatively affect its operation.
What we can do:
- install a heat shield on the radiator;
- Insulate the hood lid;
- Install a blanket for the engine;
- Install heat insulation panels on the bottom and sides of the engine compartment.
There are a lot of accessories for insulation of the engine compartment sold in stores, so there will be no problem with this.
In the passenger compartment, we lay insulating materials along the bottom, roof, inside the doors, and on the partition between the passenger compartment and the luggage compartment. This will prevent cold air from entering and warm air from leaking out of the cabin. This also prevents condensation from forming on the metal surfaces of the body.
Changing Summer Tires for Winter Tires
This should be done immediately with the onset of cold weather, when the probability of a thaw is reduced to zero. Winter tires are softer, and summer tires are already hardening at a temperature of +5 degrees. And it means that they poorly grip even the dry road surface, fraught with skidding and accidents. So it is not necessary to neglect safety for the sake of economy! In addition, driving on summer tires in winter is prohibited by law.
If we want to use old winter tires, which are carefully stored in the garage, check whether they have cracks, what is the condition of the studs, there are no signs of heavy wear. If the test results are unsatisfactory, we go to the store and buy new tires. If it is just the studs, you can use the popular stud renewal service.
Checking the battery
In winter, the car battery is severely affected by low temperatures. Therefore, the old battery can discharge quickly. If you do not want to ask your neighbor to “light it up” every morning, check the electrolyte level. The fluid should be clear! The fluid should be clear! If there was a sediment in it, it indicates the crumbling of the plates in the bank, which in turn may lead to short circuit.
If the electrolyte level is low, add distilled water. Check the density of electrolyte – it should be 1270-1280 kg/m3 (this is the recommended value for winter). Check the total voltage. If it is low, then recharge the battery with the charger.
Do not forget to inspect the wires and terminals for oxidation and external defects. If the battery is completely in bad condition, then buy a new one. This will allow you to not experience difficulties with starting the power unit in the winter season.
Changing engine oil
Engine oil is an important component of the power unit. At low temperatures, it gets thick and flows poorly through the lubrication system. And it threatens with fast wear of rubbing parts. Besides it spends more energy to rotate the engine shaft, and that is why the battery is discharged quicker.
To avoid this, you must buy a 0W-30 to 10W-30 oil. Mineral, semi-synthetic or synthetic – does not matter much. But the quality category of engine oil is essential. It must not be lower:
- SJ – for a gasoline engine;
- CD – for a diesel engine.
Checking the cooling system
Checking the coolant and cooling system is an essential part of preparing your vehicle for cold weather conditions. The antifreeze protects the engine from overheating in summer and from freezing in winter. It should be changed after about 50 000 km of run.
But if in warm seasons you used other antifreezes or antifreeze brands and added them to the basic one, to prevent fluid leakage, ruthlessly drain this cocktail and add fresh fuel or antifreeze. In winter because of water there is a risk of engine integrity damage (the head or block can fry). You will spend much less money for buying new coolant than for engine repair.
Checking the brake system
Great brakes can work well in warm weather. But they should still be checked before winter. Braking forces on the wheels must be the same, otherwise it threatens to skid on an icy road.
Carefully inspect the brake cylinder, adjust the brake regulator, replace worn brake pads and discs. Diagnose ABS, ASD and ESP systems, if any.
Prepare windshield wiping system
It is good to have a heated windshield, or at least snowblower resting area. With this system, your car’s wipers will never freeze, and you won’t have to periodically stop and jump out into the street to “tap” them from the ice.
Windshield with electric heating is expensive. Let’s not bother to buy it, and buy the installation kit for heating the resting place of the wiper blades. It includes two heat strips with wires that are glued to the glass. Often the windshield washer nozzles freeze in the cold.
Poor-quality “antifreeze” actually freezes very well. But all motorists have a risk to buy such.
Protecting the body against harmful influence of reagents
Special reagents are gentle to the metal car bodies. But most often aggressive ones are used, that is – the usual mixture of sand and salt. When a car is moving, it gets into the joints and seams, and it accumulates there, causing serious pockets of corrosion.
And that’s why it is necessary to make anticorrosive treatment of a body, paying special attention to its lower elements. It would be also good to install additional protection. This will allow if not completely prevent, then at least significantly delay the appearance of rust.
Do not forget about the surfaces of windows, exterior mirrors, lights and paintwork. Special car-cosmetics has dirt-repellent and anti-freezing effect. It allows making car’s winter operation painless.
Treating locks and rubber seals
If it was thawing in the beginning and then there was a hard frost, rubber seals, having accumulated moisture, freeze to the doors and trunk lid. To prevent the rubber from breaking when you jerk the doors during the winter, periodically treat the seals with a special silicone lubricants or cover them with a thin layer of grease. The first time we do this is before the cold weather.
Spray all keyholes with a water-repellent spray. This will remove moisture from the lock mechanisms, and they will not freeze in cold weather. This means that you do not have to warm them up with “grandpa’s” methods or to insert the key heated with a lighter. Treat your locks with water-repellent sprays after every car wash.
And, at last, we don’t forget, that you should drive with full tank of petrol only in cold weather. Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation to form on the walls of the fuel tank, which then enters the fuel system. And water in the fuel system leads to serious problems.