After the onslaught of winter, your car has taken a beating. Here’s how winter weather and temperatures can affect your car, and here’s what we recommend to “spring clean” your car.
What Winter Does to Your Car
Unless you live in a tropical locale, your car probably suffers a bit in winter. Below is just a short list of the ways that winter weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle.
- Salt sprayed on the roads (to combat snow and ice and add traction) can accumulate on the undercarriage of your car, eventually leading to corrosion and rust.
- Cold temperatures can cause belts and hoses to develop holes and cracks.
- Your car’s fluids (like oil, antifreeze, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid) can thicken in cold temps.
- Cold temperatures can kill your battery, since the temps sap the battery. (Not to mention, you’re using the heater more.)
- Very cold temperatures can freeze gas lines, effectively making your car dead in the water.
- Cold temperatures can lower tire pressure, leading to reduced fuel mileage and even increasing the risk of a blowout.
- Ice and cold temperatures can damage the rubber on your windshield wipers, potentially leading to scratches in your windshield.
- Extreme temperature changes—like blasting the heater on an ice-cold windshield—can cause stress cracks in the windshield.
How to “Spring Clean” Your Car
Now that spring is here, it’s time to include your car in your list of cleaning to-dos. A little bit of post-winter maintenance will go a long way toward keeping your car in good shape.
#1 Wash and wax.
Get rid of the excess salt and prevent rust by getting a car wash as soon as the winter weather clears. Be sure to opt for the undercarriage wash, since this is where salt from the road collects. A fresh coat of wax will also protect your paint job.
#2 Check your fluids.
If any of the car’s fluids are low, top them off. (You should know that if your power steering, brake, or coolant levels are low, that might mean you have a leak.) Consider flushing and replacing fluids. (See your car’s owner’s manual for how often you should do this.)
#3 Fill your tires.
As we mentioned above, cold weather can lower your tire pressure. If your tires are too low, fill them up the next time you go to the gas station.
#4 Check for pothole damage.
Lots of potholes form in winter, as water gets into cracks in the asphalt and then expands as it freezes. Come spring, it’s a good idea to check your tires, alignment, and suspension for damage caused by hitting potholes.
#5 Change your oil and filters.
When’s the last time you changed your oil, oil filter, and air filter? If you put it off during winter, now’s the time to do it. Not changing your car’s oil can, over time, lead to increased fuel consumption and even engine damage.
#6 Test your battery.
Test your battery to make sure that it’s in good shape. If it’s on its last legs, get it replaced now—before you wake up to a car that won’t start.
#7 Replace your windshield wiper blades.
Windshield wipers rarely make it through winter unscathed. After months of clearing snow and ice, the rubber breaks down, exposing the metal wipers. You don’t want that metal scratching up your windshield, so make sure to replace both wiper blades. (And while you’re at it, top up your wiper fluid.)
#8 Fix your windshield.
Winter can cause chips and cracks in your windshield—whether from extreme temperature changes, wiper blade scratches, or rocks/asphalt debris kicked up by other cars. If you find a chip or crack in your windshield, don’t wait to get it fixed: the longer you leave it, the worse it will get. One tiny chip can spread enough to require a whole windshield replacement!
Call Us Today
If your windshield has a chip or crack this spring, call Jack’s Glass.
Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today at our Elsmere or Covington locations.