Preparing your Car for Winter Preparing your Car for Winter

Prepare Your Car For Winter

Stay safe on icy roads with our guide!

Introduction

Prepare your car for winter, cold weather and smooth drives don’t always mix well, as sub-zero conditions can affect all aspects of your vehicle. If you don’t prepare your vehicle ready for winter properly, you might end up with some problems when you least expect them.

Why Its Important To Get Your Car Winter Ready?

Owning an all-wheel-drive model, might make you think winter checks are less crucial. However, there are still several aspects to consider before heading out in cold weather. To prevent problems or potential damage to your car, it’s essential to conduct a winter check. Check out our checklist below for guidance.

1. Inspect Tires

Checking your tires is essential throughout the year, but it becomes even more critical during colder months. Worn tires pose significant risks in challenging conditions, reducing grip on wet or icy roads, therefore increasing stopping distance and the likelihood of skidding, even at low speeds.

Additionally, cold temperatures can lead to tire deflation as pressure drops in the cold. If you anticipate frequent winter driving, consider switching to winter or all-season tires. In the UK, all-season tires are preferable as they offer added safety on slippery roads. Moreover, larger wheels not only provide better grip but also allow for more effective brakes.

2. Monitor Lights

With winter comes shorter days and increased driving in low-light conditions, making well-functioning lights crucial. Begin by inspecting your hazard lights, indicators, brake lights, and headlights. It’s easy to overlook interior lights, so ensure you also check passenger area lights, dome lights, and dashboard lights to ensure they’re all operational.

If needed, have a mechanic examine your headlights’ alignment. Misaligned headlights can pose a hazard to other drivers or make it challenging for you to see smaller vehicles.

3. Check Car Battery Health

Unfortunately car batteries have a lifespan, so it’s important to keep an eye on their condition. As part of your winter check, using a computerised battery tester is a wise move. It allows you to quickly assess the entire charging system including the battery, the alternator and the starter.

If you’re storing your vehicle for the winter, we recommend keeping it connected to an intelligent battery conditioner. Leaving your car to sit idle for extended periods can lead to battery issues when you’re ready to bring it out again in the spring.

4. Enhance Leather Care

If your car boasts leather seats like those found in a Porsche 911 or a Ferrari 812 Superfast, it’s crucial to give them extra attention before winter hits. While leather seats are generally easy to clean, they require special care as the temperature drops.

During winter, you’ll likely rely on your heater more often, which can dry out the leather and cause cracks if not properly prepared. To prevent this, include leather conditioning as part of your winter check to keep the seats moisturised and protected throughout the colder months. Additionally, consider using a vehicle humidifier to maintain the interior’s moisture levels, especially with prolonged heater use.

5. Preserve Custom Paintwork

Maintaining custom paint on your car can be quite the task. There are several methods to safeguard it. In addition to regular washing, keep an eye out for the need to apply a fresh coat of wax. Utilising a weatherproof custom cover can also help protect your car’s exterior, ensuring its paintwork remains pristine until spring.

When cleaning your car in snowy conditions, take extra caution. If indoor parking isn’t an option and snow begins to accumulate, use a soft brush to gently clean it when possible.

6. Upgrade to Winter Wiper Blades

Regular wiper blades tend to accumulate snow, leading to reduced effectiveness. Winter wiper blades, on the other hand, feature rubber boots along their edges, preventing snow and ice from sticking or packing onto your windshield. This design minimises the likelihood of annoying streaks on your windscreen.

Equipping your vehicle with suitable winter wiper blades ensures better visibility, especially during heavy snowfall. You can easily replace your regular blades with winter ones and switch back to regular blades in the spring when they are no longer needed.

7. Maintain Window Tracks

In cold temperatures, water can freeze in the window tracks, causing resistance when you try to open the window. This resistance can damage the window regulator cables, resulting in costly repairs that can run into hundreds of pounds. To prevent this, it’s essential to lubricate your window tracks as part of your winter check. PTFE or silicone spray lubricants are effective for this task.

Before applying the lubricant, lower the car window and spray the window tracks both in front and behind. You’ll know you’ve applied enough lubricant when it drips down to cover the entire track. To ensure even distribution, open and close the window a few times, then use a paper towel and glass cleaner to remove any excess lubricant from the glass.

8. Check Engine Coolant

Coolant plays a crucial role in safeguarding your engine, preventing corrosion, and ensuring the efficient functioning of your cooling system. Therefore, it’s vital to assess the freeze protection level of your coolant regularly. An inexpensive tester can effectively perform this task.

To determine the effectiveness of the additives in your coolant, we recommend using a digital multimeter. Start the testing process with a cold engine. After removing the radiator cap and starting the engine, a reading of .4 volts or less on the digital multimeter indicates sufficient protection for your engine. Any higher reading suggests that your coolant may no longer provide adequate protection.

When adding antifreeze, refer to your owner’s manual for the correct specifications. Luxury vehicles often have specific antifreeze requirements, so it’s important not to use just any product without careful consideration.

9. Lubricate Door Locks

Your car’s door locks require lubrication to withstand cold temperatures. Rain and snow introduce moisture that can cause internal corrosion, leading to difficulty in opening or closing the door. Ignoring this issue may eventually result in the lock ceasing to function altogether.

To address this, you can apply a graphite lock lubricant or Dry Teflon spray directly into the lock cylinder. This solution dissolves any sticky components, ensuring smooth operation once it evaporates.

Even vehicles equipped with keyless entry systems benefit from regular lock lubrication, as it protects against corrosion.

10. Grease Hinges and Latches

If you encounter difficulty starting your engine on a frosty morning, it could be due to a sticking bonnet latch. Located behind the grille, this latch mechanism is prone to erosion from salt spray generated by other vehicles. To prevent this corrosion, it’s advisable to lubricate the latch mechanism.

For lubrication, lithium grease is recommended for both the latches and hinges. After lubricating the spring and latch, open and close your bonnet to evenly distribute the lubricant. Leave it untouched for the duration of winter.

11. Maintain Cabin Air Filters

A clogged filter causes a noticeable decrease in airflow through the car’s heater, placing strain on the blower motor and risking overheating the resistor.

Regular maintenance of carbon air filters is crucial. Neglecting them can lead to expensive repairs, such as replacing the blower motor. Fortunately, replacing the filter is a cost-effective solution.

12. Monitor Bonnet and Boot Lifts

If you notice that the gas lift cylinders supporting your bonnet or boot are not functioning properly, this issue can worsen during winter. Since these cylinders typically work in pairs, it’s advisable to replace both if one wears out.

13. Lubricate Weather Stripping

During winter, water may infiltrate between your door and the weather stripping, subsequently freezing and impeding access to your vehicle. To avoid this issue, apply spray silicone to both the weather stripping and the corresponding door surfaces.

Don’t directly spray the silicone lubricant; instead, spread it onto a clean cloth. Use the cloth to wipe the weather stripping and door. Repeat this process for other areas with weather stripping, such as your windscreen and boot.

14. Prepare an Emergency Winter Kit

Winter driving entails encountering unpredictable weather conditions. While many drivers already keep an emergency kit in their vehicles, it’s wise to supplement it with additional items tailored for the coldest season of the year. For winter excursions, consider adding food and beverages, a blanket, extra gloves and warm clothing, a candle-powered heater, a compact tire inflator, jumper cables, etc.

Having these extra items on hand during a winter roadside breakdown, traffic congestion, or severe weather conditions can make a significant difference. It can ensure staying warm and getting back on the road swiftly, as opposed to enduring a challenging and cold wait until assistance arrives.

Getting Your Car Winter Ready

Preparing your car for the cold season doesn’t have to be daunting or costly. Taking a proactive approach by addressing lighting, tires, fluids, and other crucial components before winter sets in can promote safe driving throughout the season.

Conclusion

Moreover, regular maintenance is key to keeping your car in optimal condition year-round. Although winter presents unique challenges, maintaining your vehicle with care ensures peace of mind every time you hit the road.

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