The winter has a lot of impacts on your vehicle, and it is important to be prepared for them. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to be ready for cold weather. The following information is based on living in a cold, snowy climate. However, many of the same rules apply regardless of where you are. If there is cold weather in the forecast, a few smart strategies can help protect your car or truck.
Common Winter Damage Issues
There are all sorts of ways that your vehicle can get damaged during the winter. Most of these are present at others times but get worse during cold weather. These are some of the most significant:
- Paint damage from ice, dirt and salt on the road.
- Damage caused by losing traction on snowy and icy roads.
- Inefficient catalytic converter performance, resulting in greater emissions.
- Damage to the windshield and/or wipers due to ice and snow.
- Poor battery performance in the cold.
In short, your vehicle will perform less efficiently, be harder to control and may be damaged by ice and other environmental hazards. Fortunately, all of these are things that you can prepare for in various ways. For example, letting your car warm up before you push it too hard can protect the catalytic converter (if you’re wondering what is a catalytic converter, it is an emissions-reducing part of your exhaust).
How To Protect Your Car This Winter
The following are a few ways that you can protect your vehicle during the cold weather. For the most part, you just need to be a little more careful than you may be in the summer.
- Wash Your Car Frequently: Dirt, salt, sand and ice can all get on your car when you are driving on wintry roads (salt and sand are used to prevent icing). These aren’t great for your paint. Washing them off regularly will help.
- Try To Park Indoors: The snow, ice and cold weather aren’t very good for your vehicle. If you can, park inside a garage.
- Drive Smart: Losing control is one of the most common reasons for winter damage. Remember to leave extra space between you and the car in front. Also, try to make maneuvers at slower speeds than normal when the road is icy.
- Clear Snow Before Starting the Engine: Starting the engine when the exhaust is blocked is bad for the car and potentially bad for your health. Make sure to clear the tailpipe before turning on the engine.
- Let Your Vehicle Warm Up: Give the vehicle time to warm up. Cold starts worsen performance. So, you don’t want to floor it right after turning the keys.
Prepare Your Vehicle for the Winter This Year
Grab a few parts and tools to help keep your vehicle in good shape this winter. For example, if you are still wondering what is a catalytic converter, you could check it out and possibly replace your aging one. A little preparation can protect your vehicle in the cold weather.