Winter is here and the cold weather that comes with it if you live in the Reno and Sparks areas. With the cold weather settling in, it is time to winterize your vehicle. Some drivers will ask if they really need to? The answer is: absolutely.
What Winter Brings to Reno and Sparks
Winter’s cold weather is hard on your vehicle, particularly if you need to park outside at night. As the temperature drops below freezing it can cause fluids to freeze or thicken. Snow and cold rain come with the cold causing the car to build up snow and ice. All-in-all, winter is generally not the best time to be a vehicle in Reno and Sparks or Northern Nevada in general for that matter.
How to Winterize Your Vehicle for Reno and Sparks
There are are a couple basics which always need to be covered when winterizing your vehicle. The first is your tires, then fluids, battery, and windshield wipers. Checking these off will help keep you on the road and out of an auto repair shop.
Winterizing Your Tires
Check your tires for low pressure and wear. Either will reduce traction on wet, snow-covered, or icy roads. Tires generally lose 1 pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure for every 10 degrees of temperature drop. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer recommended tire pressure. For drivers who deal with more snow or prefer to have tires which fit the seasons, snow tires are always a good investment. Snow tires last a while because they are only used a couple months of the year. A spare set or rims will keep drivers from needing to remount their snow tires every year. Drivers interested in a single set of tires should look into all-weather tires. They can handle almost anything winter in Reno and Sparks can throw at them.
Winterize Your Vehicle’s Fluids
Freezing temperatures put some of your vehicle’s fluids to the test. Top off your windshield washer fluid with fluid mixed with a de-icer. It will keep the fluid from freezing and help keep your windshield ice-free. Check your coolant and ensure it has the right mixture of antifreeze/coolant and water. A cracked radiator or ruptured coolant hose is the last thing you want in the middle of winter.
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see if it recommends a different oil in winter. Oil gets thick when it becomes cold. Oil that is too thick forces your engine to work harder until the oil warms up.
Check Your Battery
Batteries don’t work as well when cold. In fact, a vehicle’s battery output can be cut by up to half in cold weather. Check your battery’s charge. If it’s over three years old, have it tested at an auto repair shop like Wayne’s Automotive Center in Sparks.
Check Your Windshield Wipers
Your windshield wipers protect your ability to see through the windshield. Check to see if yours have dried out or become split. New wiper blades are never a bad idea. There are even wiper blades specially designed for winter. Winter blades are sturdy enough to wipe away snow build up and help scrape away ice.
Other Things To Check
Be sure to have your vehicle’s belts and hoses checked. They are more likely to crack or break in cold weather. Replace them if need be, having them rupture or break in the cold will only make the problem that much worse. Check your window defroster and heater. A working heater will aid with defogging and keep you nice and toasty. If you have it, re-familiar with your vehicle’s four-wheel drive and test it to ensure it works.
Winter is here so be sure to winterize your vehicle. If you have any questions about winterizing or need help winterizing your vehicle, the friendly professionals at Wayne’s Automotive Center are here to help.