Preparing for Winter – Driving or Storing your Car
Driving or storing your car in Winter – here is what our experts had to say:
It’s been said before, and will be for a LONG TIME. Tires are the most important factor on your car. Literally “where the rubber meets to road”. Contact patches the size of your hand are what do all the stop, go and turning!So with that said if you’re driving in the winter make sure to dress accordingly! Summer tires are useless under 7 degrees celsius and all seasons aren’t far off. Winter tires are the best bet (even cheaper ones) than no winter tires at all. The rubber is formulated for the cooler temperatures and generally have special tread designs specific to snow and ice. Don’t neglect the tire pressures either for safety or your wallet’s sake. Under-inflated or overinflated tires come with their own driving and wear characteristics. Just do what the manual says and inflate them as required.
Tires also need to be checked before storage. Make sure that if you’re storing your summer tires don’t put them directly on concrete or stack them directly on top of each other. Neither is good for the side wall.Keep in mind that storing your car and also lead to flat spots. While this is debated and there are all sorts of ‘preventive’ things such as increasing tire pressure, the most common practices are; foam mats, old yoga mats or dedicated flat spot preventing storage blocks under all 4 tires. Some people prefer to jack the car up off the ground for the winter but it’s contested that this isn’t great for your suspension.
Do you really want to worry about doing an oil change on a bad weather day? Have you thought about the range of temperatures that your car has to sit in? Cold to warm to cold. How about all the idling in the coffee shop drive through? If you’re close to an oil change, get it out of the way now before later, plus your mechanic will appreciate a dry and salt free undercarriage!
While changing your oil isn’t really necessary since your car will sit most of the winter, just keep in mind in the spring it should be top priority. Tell your phone or personal robot to have an oil change as a priority in the spring. Oil breaks down two ways. By using it and making it dirty or through time by breaking down is lubrication and detergent properties. Maybe a post it note in the cup holder wouldn’t be a bad idea.Most importantly don’t do that mid-winter I miss you start-up and idle. You car was not meant to sit for months and then idle for 10 minutes and then be shut off. Also wasn’t meant to be revved cold!!! The nature of how an engine is supposed to operate is with driving. Heat doesn’t properly get into all the parts for their operating tolerances. Oil and coolant doesn’t circulate as it would in regular driving and warm up situations. You can argue that it’s not that bad, but it’s tough to argue that it’s good.
3. Wiper Blades
Similar to the oil, do you want to inspect or change them in the freezing cold? More over, do you want to find out when they are not work while driving down the highway in a winter storm? Check your blades, at minimum wipe them clean with a rag. Replace if necessary.
Give em a wipe, less to do in the spring.
You might have caught on to the trend here. Don’t be stuck not checking. A battery sees the harshest conditions in the winter. Cold start ups are hard and the colder it is that more energy and ‘crank energy’ is required. A lot of cars these days come with a starter for the winter so you can get that car toasty before you get into it. Don’t sacrifice the feature, your battery should operate at 12.6 volts or above and should be 13.7-14.7 when the engine is running. If you don’t know how to check your instruments or the battery itself, get your mechanic to check it.
Tender the battery. Either in the car or out of it. A battery will still discharge, so for its health putting it on a tender that is ‘smart’ and changes the delivery of charge is great for ensuring longer life and a battery ready for the spring start up. Keep in mind a dry area is also preferable.
5. The Inspection
Driving and Storage
Do a visual inspection of the car. Lights, brakes, belts, seals and everything else we’ve already mentioned. Be prepared to drive or store your car. Taking an interest in it now will go a long way down the road. If you need help make the time to bring it in. Prepare for surprises and make your winter more enjoyable.
Written By: @milk4coffee