Introduction: Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter
Video demonstration on 12 different tips on how to get your vehicle prepared for winter. Preparing your vehicle for winter is extremely important as this will ensure your travels are safer during those extreme conditions. The list isn’t limited to what is shared on this list. If you have a tip, feel free to share it in the comments sections.
- winter tires
- paint sealant/protectant
- oil spray
- rubber floor mats
- battery load tester
- winter washer fluid
Starting with tip #1
Install winter tires. Unfortunately this can be an expensive option upfront, but in the long run it does make winter driving much more comfortable as winter specific tires will assist with traction. Improved traction will keep you on the road, help with taking off, and also stopping. While they are expensive upfront, the mileage you put on your vehicle, this will be split up between two sets of tires.
Keep in mind, do not install your winter tires too early or remove them too late as this can cause excessive wear. Winter tires tend to be a softer tire composition which allows them to performance better in colder temperature, therefore in warmer days on a dry road, this will make their tread wear much quicker.
Testing your coolant. I do have a tutorial on this particular topic and this will determine what is the coldest temperature your coolant can handle. On those extremely cold days, especially driving down the highway, coolant can freeze cause serious issues. The coolant can be tested by yourself with a hydrometer in under 10 minutes.
Testing your battery. Cold climates will easily test the condition of your vehicle’s battery. You not only risk being stranded somewhere, but if your battery were to be dead, you can risk boosting a frozen battery which can explode. That can cause both harm to yourself and your vehicle. Luckily I do have a tutorial on this, so your can do the testing procedure yourself. You will need a load tester which can be had fairly cheap and only takes about 15 minutes to check.
Switch your oil over to a winter weight. Now this will depend on your vehicle and what extreme climates you are exposed to. As an example, for an engine experiences mild winter and summer temperature changes, a 10W-30 weight would be fine. The multi weight oil allows it to adjust in hot and cold seasons without affecting the engine’s lubrication. But if you start getting extremely cold climates, 10W-30 can be too thick when cold, making your engine turn over slower, decreasing cold performance, and not allowing the oil to properly lubricate the internal components. So instead a 0W-30 would be a better choice as it’s thinner when cold. As mentioned a moment ago, this will depend on what type of vehicle you own and what type of climate you live in, so be sure to refer to your owner’s manual first.
Use some type of paint protection to provide a barrier against salt, water, dirt, and ice. There are various types available such as wax, sealant, or a nano coating, each has it’s own benefits. Beyond your vehicle’s paint, this can be applied to your wheels as well. Coatings will help resist oxidization, scratching, chipping, and rust.
Complete any repairs if you work on the vehicle yourself. If there are repairs on your to-do list or preventative maintenance required, get them done before your vehicle lets you down in the middle of winter. It’s definitely not the nicest feeling having to repair your vehicle on a cold snowy day, especially if you do not have access to a heated garage.
Install winter compatible washer fluid. Summer washer fluid will not survive in colder climates as it will freeze and make your windshield washer system inoperable. It can freeze the washer fluid in the tank, lines, washer jets, and when operated the windshield or wipers too. This is especially noticeable when driving at higher speeds because the air temperature will decrease due to wind speeds. Winter washer fluid will be able to withstand those colder temperature.
Install a rigid frameless style wiper blade or a winter style blade. I find the rigid frameless style wiper blade is best as they are low profile and quite durable. Either of these choices will help prevent the wipers from freezing up which will only allow them to clean sections and not the full swipe pattern. The winter blades allow for maximum safety as they are able to clean the windshield properly allowing for full visibility.
Do you have any stone chips or rust spots forming? Be sure to repair those areas as the large amounts of moisture and salt exposure will greatly worsen the areas, in the end being even more expensive to repairs. I have videos covering both these topics as well and it can be repaired yourself for minimal money.
Help prevent that rust completely by providing a barrier using an oil spray. This can be done by yourself or you can pay a professional, either way, this will protect the value of your vehicle. The oil spray will penetrate any exposed unpainted metal components and also provide a protective layer on painted surfaces. It doesn’t take long for rust to form and if left for an extended period of time can cause some severe and costly damage. I go have a video on this on how to oil spray a vehicle yourself, costing only a fraction compared to what you’d pay a professional for.
Install rubber floor mats. You can purchase a cheap set or a set specially made for your vehicle, either way this will help protect your vehicle’s interior to some extent. Any snow which collects on your shoes can drag into the vehicle and soak into the carpet. Due to the cold climate, the moisture doesn’t tend to dry as easily. The snow can create salt stains in the carpet, drag other forms of dirt into the vehicle, create unpleasant odours, and also creating seat frames, the floor or other metal components within close proximity to rust.
Last but not least, have a list of supplies for those long commutes incase you become stranded. This can include an extra coat, tow rope, booster cables, and small shovel, food, etc. I do have a video which goes further in depth on this, so be sure to check that out.