The Drive and eBay Motors guide to winterizing your car
This article is sponsored by eBay Motors.
The first step in winterizing your car is to identify the types of conditions that you are likely to encounter. For some, preparing for winter driving is as easy as keeping your car up-to-date and replacing your mango and coconut air freshener with coconut. with peppermint. Others will need dedicated snow tires, maybe different fluids, even taking care of a slight rust from the previous winter, and yes, a cabin scent more suitable for winter.
By winterizing your car, you can avoid everything from a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening situation. The time, effort, and money involved can vary widely depending on the severity of your winter and the current condition of your car. If your car is only a year or two old, the dealership will likely take care of most of your needs. If you own an old car, especially one that is no longer under warranty, you may be able to save a lot of time and money by winterizing yourself. You will need the proper equipment to do many of these jobs.
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Before you dive into what needs to be changed, fixed, or improved on your car for the winter, now is a good time to take a look at what you should already have in your car to be prepared for any situation. Unforeseen events happen regardless of the weather or season. Be ready.
Road emergency kit
Every car emergency kit should start with a first aid kit. You can assemble your own or buy one off the shelf. Then a flashlight and extra batteries for the kit. You can also keep a small flashlight inside the car. Next to the flashlight is a good place for an escape tool consisting of a window breaker and seat belt cutter. Flashlights and escape tools are both heavy and one of them is state of the art. Keep them securely in place and in a location you can reach in a situation that would require you to cut off your seat belt–not in the trunk.
More than 10 percent of road fatalities are pedestrians on the shoulder of the road. Visibility is the key. You want a reflective vest, safety triangles, and, as long as you don’t live where your trunk can go over 150F, flares.
For tools, a starter kit or jumper cables, a few screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, pliers, a pocket knife or multi-tool, a few plastic ties, duct tape and a pair of work gloves are included. a good start. You can expand your kit according to your own ability to repair the car on the side of the road.
In the event that your car is beyond repair or physically stuck, a cell phone charger or extra power cord is good to have in your kit.
Since you never know if, or for how long, you may be stuck waiting for help, you’ll want to have water for storage and high-energy, ready-to-eat foods like nuts. , dried fruit or meal replacement bars.
For winter conditions, you might want to add a few more things. Always have weather-appropriate clothing in the car, even if you are only driving a few miles for a drive-thru without intending to get out of the car. Prepare for what might happen, not what you plan to happen. Throw a warm blanket in the trunk. If you really don’t have room, a spatial blanket will do. Chemical compresses can make all the difference in an emergency. A collapsible shovel and even a small bag of sand can help you get out of worst-case scenarios in the snow.
Winter tire exchange
If you live where you will regularly drive in the snow, you are probably already familiar with the exercise of installing dedicated snow tires for winter. To make this job as quick and painless as possible, you will need a jack, jack stands, a cutter bar with an appropriately sized socket, and a torque wrench. An impact wrench, pneumatic or electric, is always nice to have.
It should go without saying, but it’s a great time to check the air pressure in your tires. Factory recommended settings can be found in your owner’s manual and sometimes on a sticker found in the door pillar, inside the fuel filler flap, or inside the gearbox door. gloves. Having a good air compressor that plugs into your car’s 12 volt outlet is ideal for this and can be kept in the trunk of your car. Also, don’t forget to check your spare tire pressure.
Brake inspection or maintenance
If you’ve already removed the tires and wheels from the car, you might as well inspect your brakes. If you find a service necessary and feel comfortable doing the job yourself, you’ll want to invest in a few tools. First, determine if your vehicle requires specialized tools; many brands have proprietary caliper spreaders or piston retractors. You may also want a power brake bleeder tool so you can do this job yourself.
Inspect the battery
The rest may be irrelevant if your car won’t start. When the temperature drops, your battery’s ability to supply power also decreases. Most auto parts stores will test your battery while it is still in your car for a small fee. Another option is to buy your own battery tester for home use; it can be useful more often than you think.
Even if your battery is healthy at the start of winter, if you do a lot of trips in less than 20 minutes, you might not keep your car battery fully charged. A fully charged battery will last longer and be less likely to freeze. Battery chargers don’t take up much space and can be dampened in cold climates.
This is not as common in late model cars, but some manufacturers have recommended different weights of engine oil for summer and winter driving. Look in your owner’s manual to determine if this applies to your car. With most modern cars having oil change intervals ranging from 5,000 miles to 15,000 miles, it makes more sense to use an oil year round.
If you’re doing your own oil changes, an oil extractor can make your job easier, removing the need to jack up your car. While lifting the car isn’t difficult, it can cut your time in the garage by a third. You can decide if it’s positive or negative.
Like oil changes, automakers have dramatically increased coolant flush intervals. Some brands, like Mercedes, recommend up to 150,000 miles between coolant services. In older cars, the recommended ratios of antifreeze to water might change with the season, but most newer model cars use premixed coolant. Again, your owner’s manual will be the best place to find out what is best for your car.
A good detail
Is there a bad time to take care of the exterior of your car? No. But there are times that are better, and just before the weather turns cold, this is one of them. A new coat of wax will help protect your car’s paint from the road salts used to de-ice the roads. Glass coatings can help prevent frost and ice from sticking to the outside of windows, while also preventing fogging on the inside. A little preparation goes a long way.
Most people don’t think much about washing their cars in the winter. But, using a pressure washer makes it easier anytime of the year. Especially in winter, it will allow you to wash your car without even taking out the buckets and the sponge. Just spray the soap on the car and wash it off. Just be sure to take the car to your garage and dry it off before it freezes.
A coat of wax will not only protect the paint, but make your car easier to clean. Those of us of a certain age find that polishing a car is the best way to learn martial arts muscle memory, but an electric orbital polisher is arguably more efficient at getting the job done. It doesn’t take long and it will help to avoid the next step.
Rust prevention and minor repairs
No matter how careful you are with washing and waxing, the threat of rust is always present. To avoid rust, it is imperative to keep water drains open. Trapped moisture, especially mixed with road salt, is the fastest way to ruin your car’s body. Inspect the drains and clean them.
After that, make sure your car’s underlayment is completely intact. If not, chances are you have at least some rust on the surface as well. Repairing rust can be serious business; if you’re not comfortable with a big job, find a pro. If you want to take care of it yourself, a few tools will be needed.
You will have to remove everything down to the bare metal. An angle grinder is your best bet. Now you will be able to determine if you need to solder any patches or if the factory metal is still solid. In the first case, the equipment to do the job is not prohibitive, especially if you are shopping with our sponsor, eBay Motors Tools. You can probably get a welder for less than what a body shop would charge for a small repair.
Once you are happy with the condition of the sheet metal, the next step is to prime and seal. A self-etching primer can be sprayed with a canister, but you might want to get some painting supplies if you’re trying to get the car back to like-new condition. Next, the body sealer should go through all of the crimps, seams, and welds. Now coat the car with a rubber product, then paint. Add some non-drying wax to the inside of the panels and you should be ready for another winter.