Save By Practicing Winter Car Care

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Knowing how to take care of your vehicle through winter weather is an easy way to avoid damage to your car through incorrect cleaning methods or unnecessary collisions and tow charges. You could even say that taking proper care and precautions with your vehicle during the winter months is just as important as routine maintenance such as getting an oil change or a tune-up. The following are ways to save money by taking better care of your vehicle and staying safer on the roads this winter.

Warm it up. During the summer, you can just jump into your vehicle and go. In the winter, driving a car with a cold engine puts unnecessary stress on your vehicle’s systems and may even decrease the lifespan of your vehicle. In cold temperatures, give your vehicle at least 10-15 minutes to warm up. This also allows your vehicle to start the defrost process, gradually warming up your windows and melting any ice or snow.

Always clean off your car. If you can’t park your car in a garage during the winter, you may need to clean snow off your car before making your morning commute. If you don’t clean off your car, you are posing a risk not only to yourself, by decreased visibility, but to others; as your vehicle accelerates, snow flying off your vehicle can become a hazard to other drivers. Be especially sure to clean off your side mirrors and headlights so you can see and be seen.

Clean carefully. Warming up your vehicle will naturally clear some snow and ice, but you may still need to manually clean it.

  • Using a shovel to clear snow off your car isn’t a good idea – you could be scratching your car without even knowing it. Use a plastic window scraper for ice with a brush to dust off snow.
  • Dumping hot water on your windshield to quickly melt ice is also a bad idea. The rapid change in temperature can cause cracks to form or even make it shatter.
  • Avoid using your windshield wipers to do the work for you. Heavy loads of snow and ice can put strain on your wipers and damage them. Replacing your regular wipers with winter ones designed to handle ice and snow is also a great idea.

Visit the car wash more often. Salt is useful for melting ice off slippery roads, but also extremely corrosive to your vehicle. Washing your vehicle more frequently in the winter will prolong the life of your vehicle’s underbody.

Practice safe winter driving. The most important tip for winter driving is to remember that road conditions may be poor, so give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Driving too quickly on treacherous roads can lead to worse consequences than being a few minutes late for work. Also:

  • Give yourself enough space to stop considering the road conditions. Test out your breaks in a parking lot to see exactly how much traction your tires have in particular conditions and how much stopping time you need to allow.
  • Leave extra space between yourself and other vehicles.
  • If you start to skid, don’t panic. Immediately take your foot off the accelerator, but don’t slam on the brakes, and try to stay in control of the vehicle.
  • Keep a shovel and a bag of sand or cat litter in your vehicle in case you get stuck. This is much less hassle and expense than paying for a tow truck.

Saving money on vehicle repairs, fender benders, and tow services can be as simple as taking these precautions while caring for and driving your vehicle this winter.

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