5 Things You Should NEVER to Do to Your Car in the Winter

Ready or not, the cold winter months are coming to the northeastern U.S. Soon enough, we’ll be hit with frost, sleet, snow, and ice, and that’s no fun for car enthusiasts.

During the winter time, cars require a little extra care to keep them road ready due to the harsher conditions. There are many things that you could normally get away with on a mild day, but in the winter time, here are five things you should NEVER do to your car.

Don’t Use Hot Water to Thaw Your Windshield

Imagine this: You wake up for work, you sleepwalk your way through your morning routine, and you eventually make your way out to your car to go to work, only to notice it’s been frosted over with stubborn ice. 

Naturally, the last thing you probably want to do is spend upwards of 15 minutes meticulously scraping it off. One not-so-bright idea many people have is to heat up some water and pour it on their windshield in an attempt to speed up the thawing process. 

This is a very bad idea because when hot water makes contact with cold glass, your windshield could crack severely. Replacing a windshield is not cheap, easy, or fun, so it’s best just to bite the bullet and spend a few extra minutes to start your car, turn on the defrosters, and scrape off the ice properly. 

Don’t Turn Your Wipers on When You Notice Ice

Another thing you shouldn’t do when your windshield is iced over is attempt to clear it using your windshield wipers. Ice is hard and sharp, and most wiper blades are rubber, so attempting to use your wipers to chip away solid ice can rip those delicate surfaces to shreds. Replacing wipers can be annoying to say the least. 

An iced over windshield can also cause your wipers to become frozen to the glass surface, or can cause your wiper blades to become frozen solid themselves. Not only can using them in this condition damage your windshield itself, but it could also damage your windshield wiper motor, a delicate, difficult-to-replace part located inside the front of your car, just under the windshield. Due to their hard-to-reach location and the rarity of the part, replacing a wiper motor could cost over $500.

If you’re area is anticipating an overnight frost or an ice storm, try elevating your wipers on their stands before hand. Doing so will prevent them from freezing to the windshield and reduce their ice accumulation. 

Don’t Neglect Your Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is one of the most neglected aspects of car maintenance. It’s very important to stay on top of your vehicle’s tire pressure because poorly calibrated air in the tires can lead to frequent flats and problems with braking, acceleration, and traction.

It’s especially important to measure your tire pressure when the air outside is cold. This will give you a more accurate reading of your pressure, so you’ll know how much air to put in all four tires to keep your tires especially functional in harsher road conditions. 

Don’t Neglect Your Battery

Few things wreak more havoc on a car’s battery than cold weather. When it’s cold outside, your car’s electrical system (which is powered by the battery) can have an especially difficult time starting up. In worst case scenarios, your car may not even start after a long, cold night. 

That’s why it’s important to have your battery tested and perhaps even replaced, before a particularly vicious streak of cold winter weather. 

Don’t Forget About Your Cooling System

Your car’s cooling system is a closed system that requires relatively little maintenance over time, but it’s still important to check it every so often, especially prior to a streak of harsh weather.

Although a coolant system is designed to keep your engine from overheating, the antifreeze fluid is also used to prevent your engine from freezing up. By having you car’s antifreeze tested early on, you’ll know how much cold your system can handle. Additionally, if you notice your antifreeze is dirty or full of debris, it could be time for a coolant flush and fluid replacement. Doing this before it's too late can prevent a slew of seriously expensive issues.

For more great winter service tips, or to have your car’s vital internal systems reviewed by a professional, stop by Keller Bros Ford in Lititz today! Our service center is the best in town!
Categories: Service
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