MoneyWisdom Blog

Keep Your Car Moving this Winter

Posted by Hanscom Federal Credit Union on Dec 11, 2015 7:00:00 AM

IG_Winter_Car_Maintenance.jpgWinter is coming.  Yes, the cold, snow, blowing, howling winter is inevitable. You need to be able to rely on your car so you are not left out in the cold. Your car needs to rely on you for its care and feeding, and we are covering some useful tips and some unique ideas to help you prepare.Starting with anything rubber is a good idea:

  • Tires
    • Make sure there is sufficient tread to get you through the snow. If you see horizontal marks through the tread, these “tread wear indicators” indicate it is time to replace the tires.
    • Inflate tires to the proper pressure. The driver’s door jam has a sticker showing the correct pressure. Since the colder temperatures cause lower pressure, it’s important to fill your tires to the correct pressure. Plus, your tires will last longer and the car’s ride will be as designed.
      • TIP: Most tire centers will check tires and air pressure for free. Of course, they will try to sell you on balancing/rotations/etc.
  • Wipers
    • Snow and grit will inevitably cover your windows and a good wiper is needed to keep the windows clear. Changing the wipers before winter is a good idea, in fact manufacturers suggest changing them every six months. They certainly need replacement if they are cracked or streaking when used.
    • Wipers often need help of a little spritz of washer fluid. Buy a couple of bottles and carry in the car. When you get fuel, top off the washer fluid if you’ve been using the spray.
      • TIP: Most car part stores are willing to lend a hand to help install wipers on someone’s car.
  • Doors
    • Vehicles often have a rubber gasket around the door opening. If water accumulates on the gasket, the door can “freeze” shut, leaving you out in the cold. A light application of cooking spray will help keep water off the rubber.
    • A brief squirt of WD-40 in the keyhole of the door often keeps water from accumulating in the lock and freezing.
      • TIP: Wrap the end of the WD-40 tube in paper towel after you insert in the lock and before spraying. This will stop overspray and drips!

Other preparations include:

  • Keep the fuel tank over half filled – this helps with additional weight for traction and if you were to get stuck lets you run the engine for warmth (make sure the exhaust pipe is clear).
  • Carry a bag of gritty cat litter or sand – if you are on ice, this can make all the difference in getting moving.
  • Make sure you know where your snow brush is located – leaving it in the garage won’t help!
  • If your windows fog, try applying shaving cream to the inside of the windows and then wiping off. This works on the bathroom mirror, too!
  • Keep an emergency kit in the car. A spare jacket, some hand warmers, a flashlight, and energy bars will go a long way if needed.
  • Let Mother Nature help. When parking overnight park so the windshield faces east, so the rising sun can help warm the car.

You’ve done everything right, and after a night of freezing rain approach your ice covered car with trepidation. No worries, you have this one!

  • Spray a mixture of 3 parts vinegar and 1-part water on glass to help de-ice.
  • A credit card can be used as an emergency ice scraper
  • If the locks are frozen, you can try some hand sanitizer on the key. The alcohol will help with the ice.

With a few simple preparations, your car will help serve you well during this winter!

Now that you’ve helped your car, is it time for your car to help you? Find out about our refinancing options. Yes, you can refinance a car! 

Learn More About Refinancing Your Car.

 

Topics: Cars

Longtime area blogger Gary Kelley works as a Realtor® in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
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