Care for your car in the cold

Ensure your car is prepared for the colder temperatures.

As winter’s chilly winds sweep across Southern Downs, it’s crucial to prepare more than just your home for the cold. Your car also needs attention to handle the harsh weather conditions.

Cold temperatures, heavy frosts, and the occasional dusting of snow can impact your vehicle’s performance and safety. To help you get through the winter months smoothly, here are some essential winter car maintenance tips and checklists that go beyond basic winter driving advice.

Routine Car Maintenance

As winter nears, make regular maintenance for your vehicle a priority. Schedule an oil change to ensure optimal engine performance during the colder months. Using synthetic oil can be beneficial as it flows more smoothly in cold weather, provides better lubrication during start-ups, and offers enhanced engine protection against wear.

Warming Up Your Car

In icy conditions, it can be tempting to let your car run for a long time to warm it up before driving. However, modern vehicles typically don’t need prolonged idling. Excessive idling wastes fuel. Instead, start the engine, let it run for about 30 seconds to circulate the oil, and then drive gently until the engine reaches its operating temperature. Don’t forget about engine tuning to ensure fuel efficiency and reliability in colder weather.

Inspecting the Cooling System

Checking the cooling system is vital even in winter. It helps prevent engine overheating in summer and freezing in colder temperatures. Check for leaks, ensure the correct coolant mixture, and inspect the level and concentration of antifreeze. This fluid is crucial for keeping the engine running smoothly in sub-zero temperatures.

Checking Wipers, Belts, and Hoses

Visibility is crucial during winter driving. Consider using winter-grade wiper blades that can handle heavy rain and snow more effectively. Cold weather can make rubber components, such as belts and hoses, more prone to cracking and damage, so inspect these parts regularly.

Ensuring the 4WD System is Functional

If you drive a 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) vehicle, make sure the system is working correctly. This is especially important if you plan to travel to snowy areas or go off-road during winter, as a functional 4WD system provides better traction and control.

Winter Car Essentials

A well-stocked emergency kit is invaluable during winter road trips. Include items like a blanket, flashlight, extra warm clothing, gloves, and non-perishable snacks. Also, carry an ice scraper and de-icer to clear your windshield and windows efficiently.

Winter on the Southern Downs may not be as severe as in some regions, but it still requires careful attention to car maintenance and cold-weather car safety. By following these tips, you can ensure your vehicle is ready to handle the winter conditions safely and reliably.