How To Keep Your Vehicle Running Smoothly Through Winter
As the year draws closer to its end, the chill in the air becomes increasingly hard to ignore. The drop in temperatures makes more and more drivers dread those morning run to their cars. But drivers aren’t the only ones struggling — chances are your vehicle isn’t a big fan of the winter either.
So, how do you ensure your vehicle can make it through the winter months, especially while keeping you warm and tackling some brutal weather conditions?
It may not sound easy, but the professionals at Liberty Buick GMC have you covered with some helpful tips to protect your vehicle, both mechanically and aesthetically. Don’t just worry about the chill; prepare to protect yourself and your car during the colder months!
For Those Who Don’t Live in Harsh Winters
Drivers who don’t live in traditionally “cold” areas like the Northeast or Midwest may skim over cold weather tips. After all, extremely low temperatures are rare and less sustained outside of those regions — right?
Surprisingly, short periods of extreme cold can do a comparable amount of damage to your vehicle, especially when temperature spikes. As such, people in traditionally warmer climates should be aware of those radical drops in temperature and prepare much like their Northeastern counterparts when necessary.
Here’s the bottom line: Even if you don’t live in the Northeast, showing your vehicle some extra TLC going into winter will ensure it has a long and productive future.
Invest in Winter Tires
If there’s a chance you’ll be driving during a cold winter, investing in winter tires is a must. Winter tires are made with softer rubber that allows for more flexibility when temperatures drop. The change in material accompanied by unique tread patterns and wider grooves allows for easy driving on icy or snowy roads. It’s also important to note that having four winter tires is better than two, with two winter tires actually leading to less traction because of the mismatch in treads.
People who live in areas that receive snow just once or twice a year may feel less inclined to spend big on specialized tires. Still, it’s necessary to ensure the tires you have on your car are in good shape. Worn-out tires have less traction, which can be the difference between a safe drive and a dangerous one in winter.
If you can’t tell if it’s time for a tire replacement, use the penny trick! Simply place a penny in the tread of your tire. Make sure the penny is positioned so that Lincoln’s head points down into the tire. If the top of Lincoln’s head isn’t visible, your tread is still okay; if not, it may be time to buy some replacement tires.
If you find that you need new tires, don’t fret — Liberty Buick GMC has you covered. Our Tire Center is well-prepared to provide brand-new, affordable tires to last several winter seasons.
As our tire department states:
“Your vehicle’s tires are the first and only contact with the road, so it is important to choose the right set when replacing them.”
If you don’t know what kind of tires your vehicle needs, we’re more than equipped to help you find the perfect match. Just touch base with a Tire Center professional today!
Wash Your Car Frequently
Washing your car is a task everyone can relate to putting off, but it carries extra significance in the winter. There are a few key reasons to keep your car clean during the winter and ensure a long vehicle lifetime.
One reason to wash your car is to remove road salt build-ups because road salt is terrible for your car.
The average state spends 20% of its maintenance budget on winter road care, and that amount of money translates into a lot of road salt being put onto our roads. This substance may make your driving experience safer, but it spells trouble for your vehicle.
Road salt creates a chemical reaction that causes corrosion and rust, with the exposed metal parts of your car being most at risk. But the corrosion isn’t limited to exposed metal; it can damage your vehicle’s clear coat, paint, undercarriage, and brake and gas lines. Here’s the main takeaway:
Keep the road salt off your car and on the road.
Washing doesn’t just eliminate salt; it reduces grime and buildup which can limit or reduce visibility. In the wintertime and when driving in less-than-ideal weather conditions, visibility is often the difference between a safe drive or an accident. Keeping grime and salt off your windows, mirrors, and headlights will increase your visibility and safety.
Each year, 24% of weather-related automotive accidents occur during snow or ice. While some of those accidents could be avoided by following tips related to vehicle maintenance, others could have been prevented by employing safer driving practices.
Adapting the way you drive is a necessary practice to maximize the safety and protection of your vehicle during the colder months. Icy and snowy conditions severely impact the amount of time it takes to bring your vehicle to a full stop, so increasing the distance between the car in front of you and your vehicle is an excellent first step in adopting safer practices. Similarly, it’s a good idea to decrease speed in icy conditions due to the lack of traction.
Outside of those tips, you’ll want to know what to avoid when driving in winter. Here are a few things to look out for:
Avoid puddles and potholes.
They may not seem dangerous, but you never know what puddles and potholes are hiding. They collect salt and dirty water that contribute to the corrosion we discussed, but they can also be much deeper than they appear and cause severe damage to your car and/or tires. And when it’s colder, they can turn into slick ice spots that impact your traction on the road.
Avoid driving in deep snow.
Much like puddles, you never know what deep snow could be hiding. Deep ruts, low-bearing shoulders, and more can be obscured by snow, leaving a driver and their car at risk.
Packed snow that’s been on the ground for some time also contains a lot of salt and grime, which can undo all that car cleaning and prepping you spent so much time and money on. Further, driving through deep snow can pack snow into your wheels, causing them to shake in transit. That’s not good for you or your car; so if you notice it, get to the car wash immediately!
Avoid parking on the street.
Parking on the street in the winter puts your car on the frontline of the salt spray and snow scrapes. Snow plows could push deep snow against your car, and even if you luck out on that front, the salt spray can cause severe body damage if you don’t wash it off immediately. Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to move your car if you know a winter-weather event is on the way.
Stock Your Car With The Right Tools
We’ve covered what you can do to the outside of your car to ensure it’s well taken care of, but what about the inside? Preparing something like a winter-driving safety kit can go a long way in protecting you and your vehicle.
Here are a few essential things to keep in your car throughout those cooler months that will make driving much easier and safer:
Ice Scraper: As we touched on earlier, visibility is everything in bad weather conditions, so getting that morning ice off your car is a must. Invest in a well-designed, reliable ice scraper. It’s a tool you’ll often use, so relying on a cheap product can cause headaches!
A Small, Collapsible Shovel: You never know when your car will get stuck or surrounded by deep snow. Keeping a collapsible shovel in your vehicle ensures you can dig yourself out of tough situations, instead of pushing your car to the brink of damage.
Sand or Kitty Litter: This one might seem strange, but it can be a real lifesaver during a snow or ice storm. Using a coarse material around your tires can provide extra traction and get your car out of a sticky situation.
Jumper Cables: Colder temperatures can affect your car battery and put your car in a situation where it needs a jump. Having cables on hand makes that as easy as possible and keeps your car charged and running all winter long.
Portable Air Compressor: Tires are everything in the winter. After all, they connect your vehicle to the road! It’s essential to monitor your tire pressure and keep a tool handy that can bring the tire pressure up to its recommended level.
Liberty Buick GMC
You should have a winter accompanied by a well-running vehicle if you employ these tips. Still, some vehicles are more equipped than others for challenging weather conditions. If you worry about your vehicle every time the weather cools, it might be time to invest in a new GMC that fits any road condition.
SUVs like the all-new Acadia and trucks like the Sierra offer next-generation off-roading and winter weather capabilities. And those two models only scratch the surface of GMC’s ambitious 2023 lineup.
Moreover, if you count yourself among the millions of people who own a GMC, now may be a good time to get it serviced and examined as weather conditions worsen.
Our dealership is more than equipped to provide an excellent car buying and servicing experience. If you’re ready to prepare for the winter months, don’t hesitate to connect with Liberty Buick GMC today and get your vehicle ready for any season!