It might be short, but even here in the South, winter can get pretty intense for us, our homes, our yards and –you guessed it– our cars. We’ve talked about the importance of having a working A/C during the sweltering summer heat, but before the temperatures drop it’s also important to get the heater and other systems checked to makes sure you’re not left stranded in freezing temps.
Fortunately here in Sugar Land, we still have a little time before the really freezing weather hits. Take the time now to prepare your car or truck for winter’s worst.
Make Your Car Shine with A Little Wax
The exterior of your car is susceptible to the elements. Use a high-quality wash and wax to protect against wintery precipitation. The beginning of autumn is the ideal time to do this, but there’s no such thing as being too late to protect your car.
However, a good rule of thumb is to do the wax before temperatures fall below 55 degrees. Having your car waxed makes sleet, snow and ice slide off easier. We also recommend investing in some water-resistant vinyl or rubber mats to keep your floorboards dry and free from debris.
Stay in Charge: Test Your Car Battery
During the winter months you are using your defroster, windshield wipers and heating systems on full blast. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a battery replacement, you should take your vehicle to an auto supply story or mechanic to have the battery professionally tested to make sure it’s in good enough condition to hold a charge no matter where your winter travels may take you.
Keep Cool in the Winter? Yep, Get a Fluid Check!
Most people only think of coolant in the summer as a means of keeping their engines from over-heating, but coolant serves the dual purpose of protecting the engine from freezing!
When the temp dips below the freezing mark, your engine and supplemental parts run the risk of hardening up. Check the coolant level (never while the vehicle is hot), and maintain a water/antifreeze mixture of 50/50 for year-round driving. While you’re checking these levels, go ahead and examine the hoses for any leaks or excessive wear. Of course, if you’re not sure what to look for – bring your car in to your neighborhood auto shop for a fluid and hose check.
Now You See Me: Keep Ice Off Windshield
As charming as snow flurries or a light winter rain can be, driving in these elements is a whole different story – especially for Houstonians who aren’t as accustomed to these conditions as our Northern friends and relatives. Your windshield wipers are your best defense against vision impairment. Ensure your wipers are clean, then check to make sure they do not lift any amount from your windshield at higher speeds. If you notice that they do, they need to be replaced. When purchasing windshield washer fluid, it’s crucial to look for a brand with a de-icer agent.
Last but Not Least
Once you’ve checked all of the above essentials, you are almost done. Now you just have to stock your vehicle with the winter essentials. If you do a lot of traveling in the snow or if a cold snap rushes through, having these items on hand will keep you safe and warm in the event something unexpected happens on the road:
- Soft bristled snowbrush or plastic ice scraper
- First aid kit (always a good idea)
- Jumper cables
- Tire chains (for rugged terrain)
- Warm blankets
- Additional windshield washer fluid with de-icer additive
Preparing for the cold season takes time but pays off once you’re in full-blown winter weather. It’s never too late to start practicing these tips. Get started by taking your vehicle into Colony One Auto Center. We’ll make sure your car or truck is ready for anything winter might bring your way.