Winter is in full swing here in Bellingham, MA. If you live in New England, or the Midwest where snow and ice are commonplace during the long winter months, you know what havoc it can wreak on your vehicle.

Winterizing your car is important to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape during the harsh winter months. Cold weather can have a significant impact on your car’s battery, tires, fluids, exterior, and interior. By properly winterizing your car, you can prevent potential damage, improve performance, and ensure that your car is safe to drive.

Here Are Tips for Protecting Your Car in Winter 

Maintain Your Battery

Cold weather can have a big impact on your vehicle’s battery. As temperatures drop, the electrolyte inside the battery thickens, reducing its capacity to produce power. This makes it harder for the battery to start the engine, and it can also lead to a decrease in overall battery life.

Cold weather can also cause corrosion in your battery’s terminals, leading to poor electrical connections which make it more difficult for the battery to start the engine.

Additionally, cold temperatures can also cause the water in the battery to freeze, leading to cracks or leaks.

Finally, cold weather can cause a drop in the battery’s capacity, meaning that it may not be able to supply enough power to start the engine or to run all the car’s electrical systems.

To keep your battery in the best possible condition during the winter months, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check and Clean Your Battery: Clean the terminals and connections of the battery to prevent corrosion.

  2. Check Your Battery’s Charge: Use a digital multimeter to check the battery’s charge level and make sure it’s fully charged before winter. This is also a good idea before taking any long trips in inclement weather.

  3. Protect Your Battery From Extreme Cold: If you know that you’ll be storing your car for a long period, you can invest in a battery blanket to keep it warm and prevent it from freezing, or park it in a warm garage for daily protection.

  4. Use a Trickle Charger for Long-Term Storage: If you know you’ll be storing your car for a long time, you can use a trickle charger to maintain the battery’s charge.

  5. Have Your Battery Tested: Before winter, it’s a good idea to have your battery tested by a professional to make sure it’s in good working order. However, it can be tested anytime during winter if you suspect that it isn’t functioning at full capacity.

  6. Keep An Eye On The Age of Your Battery: Batteries have a limited life span, so if your battery is older, it’s a good idea to replace it before the winter.

By following the above steps, you can keep your battery functioning at optimal levels this winter.

Check Your Tires

Cold weather can have a significant impact on tires. As temperatures drop, the air inside the tires contracts, which can cause a drop in your tire pressure and lead to underinflation. This can cause the tires to wear unevenly, decrease your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and increase the risk of your tire blowing.

Cold weather can also make the rubber of the tires harder, reducing the tires’ traction and making it more difficult to make turns or stop on slick or snow-covered roads.

Here are some steps you can take to maintain and protect your tires during the winter:

  1. Check Your Tire Pressure: When the temperature drops, check your tire pressure regularly and make sure the tires are properly inflated.

  2. Check the Tread on Your Tires: Make sure your tires have enough tread to provide good traction on snowy and icy roads. Here are four ways to check your tire tread.

  3. Rotate Your Tires: Rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to ensure even wear, and whenever you replace a tire.

  4. Use Winter Tires: If you live in an area with heavy snowfall and other hazardous conditions, consider investing in winter tires. These tires are specifically designed with special materials that stay soft for better traction in extreme cold and provide the best tread block patterns for winter precipitation including snow, slush, and ice.

  5. Balance and Align Your Tires: Prevent uneven wear and benefit from better handling by making sure your tires are balanced and aligned.

  6. Store Your Tires Properly: If you are storing your car long term, remove the tires and store them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat.

  7. Be Aware of the Age of Your Tires: Tires have a limited lifespan. Consider replacing your tires before winter if they are on the older side.

By taking these steps, you can help maintain and protect your tires in the winter.

Check and  Maintain Your Fluids

Cold weather can really impact your vehicle’s fluids. As temperatures drop, the viscosity (thickness) of the fluids in the car increases, making it more difficult for the fluids to flow through the system.

This can make it difficult for your car to start and lead to increased wear and tear on the engine, transmission, and other mechanical components.

Cold temperatures can also cause water in the car’s systems to freeze, which can cause damage to hoses and other components. Freezing temps can also cause the battery fluid to freeze, leading to battery failure.

To protect your car from the cold weather it’s important to check and maintain the fluids, including the oil, coolant, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid. It’s important to make sure that the fluids are at the correct level and that they are in good condition.

Note: If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, it’s a good idea to use a winter-grade oil and other fluids that are specifically designed for cold weather.

Here’s what you should keep an eye on in regards to your vehicle’s fluids during winter:

  • Oil Level
  • Coolant Level
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Brake Fluid Level
  • Windshield Washer Fluid Level
  • Transmission Fluid Level
  • Battery Fluid Level
  • Keep an eye on the fluid’s age

By taking these steps, you can help maintain and protect your fluids during the winter months, ensuring that they are in good condition and able to provide proper lubrication and protection for your car’s systems during the cold weather.

Auto Body Maintenance

Wintery conditions can be brutal to a car’s exterior. As temperatures drop, the paint on the car’s body can become dull and brittle, which can make it more prone to chipping, cracking, and fading.

Cold temperatures can also cause the metal on the car’s body to contract, which can lead to rust and corrosion.

Poor winter weather driving conditions, and road treatments, can also lead to the build-up of dirt, salt, and grime on the car’s exterior, which can cause damage to the paint and other surfaces.

Additionally, cold weather can cause the windshield wipers to become brittle and less effective, which can make it difficult to see while driving in snowy or rainy weather. It can also cause the windshield to freeze or fog up, which can make it difficult to see while driving.

Extreme cold can also cause the weather stripping around the car’s windows and doors to become brittle and less effective, which can allow cold air and water to enter the car, causing damage to the interior.

Overall, cold weather can cause a lot of damage to a car’s exterior, which is why it’s important to take steps to protect the car’s exterior during the winter months.

Here are some steps you can take to maintain and protect your car’s exterior during the winter:

  1. Wash and Wax Your Car Regularly: Washing and waxing your car on a regular basis can help protect the paint from salt, grime, and other damaging contaminants.

  2. Consider a Quality Car Cover: Investing in a good quality car cover can help protect your car from the elements, such as snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.

  3. Check Weather Stripping Regularly: Check the weather stripping around the car’s windows and doors and make sure it’s in good condition. Replace it if it’s cracked or damaged.

  4. Check Your Windshield Wipers: Monitor your windshield wipers and replace them if they aren’t adequately clearing precipitation from your windshield.

  5. Check Your Lights: Make sure all the lights on your car are clean and working properly.

  6. Watch for Corrosion or Rust: Check the car’s body for rust and corrosion and address it if you find any. You can have a corrosion prevention treatment applied by an auto body shop in Bellingham, MA or your local area.

  7. Keep Your Car Sheltered: Parking your car in a warm garage can help protect the exterior from the cold.

  8. Use a Windshield Cover: Investing in a good quality windshield cover can help protect your windshield from freezing temperatures and snow. It will also eliminate the hassle of scraping off your car whenever it gets snow covered or ices over.

By taking these steps, you can help maintain and protect your car’s exterior during the winter months, ensuring that it’s in good condition and able to withstand the harsh weather conditions.

Interior Maintenance

Cold weather can affect a car’s interior. Low temperatures can cause the plastic, leather, and other materials inside the car to become brittle and less flexible, leading to cradking and other damage.

Severe cold temperatures can also cause the car’s windows and doors to seal less effectively, allowing cold air and water to enter the car and cause damage to the interior.

Moisture that makes its way into the vehicle can also cause mold, mildew and musty smell to form in the car’s upholstery, carpets and other fabrics. This can be particularly problematic for cars that are parked outside or that are not driven frequently.

Cold weather can also cause the car’s heating and defrosting systems to work harder, leading to increased wear and tear on these HVAC systems and decreased performance.

Here are some steps you can take to maintain and protect your car’s interior during the winter:

  1. Use Floor Mats and Seat Covers: Use seat and floor mats to protect the car’s upholstery and carpets from dirt, salt, and other contaminants.

  2. Use a Dehumidifier: Purchase a dehumidifier like DampRid or a similar humidity absorber to remove moisture from the air inside the car. This can help prevent mold and mildew from forming.

  3. Keep Your Vehicle In the Garage: Parking your car in a warm garage can help protect the interior from the cold.

  4. Check Your Car’s HVAC Systems: Make sure the car’s heating and defrosting systems are working properly and that the windows are defrosting properly.

  5. Clean Your Car Regularly: Vacuum and clean the car’s interior on a regular basis to remove dirt, salt, and other contaminants.

By following these steps, you can help maintain and protect your car’s interior during the winter months, ensuring that it stays in good condition and that the car’s heating and defrosting systems are working properly.

Conclusion

There’s still plenty of winter left here in Massachusetts, and it is never too late to follow the steps above to stay safe and keep your vehicle’s interior and exterior in the best possible shape!

If years of winter exposure have damaged your vehicle’s exterior, we can help! Liberty Auto Body specializes in keeping your car’s exterior looking as good a new! Contact us to learn more about our auto body services.