When winter approaches, is your car ready? Drivers often put off recommended winter car service until the cold or freezing temperatures arrive. Don't scramble to get your car ready for winter: take the necessary steps early so that you and your vehicle will be prepared for what's ahead.
The team at Honda Auto Center Of Bellevue has compiled a helpful list of ways you can get your car ready for winter driving. While not all of these tips are required for safe driving during the winter, we recommend every motorist consider addressing these vehicle aspects to enjoy safe and hassle-free driving during the dark, cold months.
Every driver knows that oil changes are among the most important routine maintenance items for any car with an internal combustion engine. Some motorists still put off this important auto care service until far past the recommended oil change interval. No matter the season, we encourage you to get your oil and filter changed as outlined by your car's manufacturer, typically at every 3,000-, 5,000-, or 7,500-mile interval.
Oil changes can be even more important during the winter months, however. You can check your owner's manual for the recommended viscosity motor oil for your vehicle. Still, the trained and certified technicians at your preferred auto service center will know what oil your car needs for optimal performance throughout the year.
Your vehicle requires the proper motor oil viscosity or weight for the winter months. During winter driving, the viscosity or thickness of oil at a cold temperature is more varied than at its operating temperature, so you want to ensure that your engine oil is optimized for these temperature extremes.
Similarly to other fluids like motor oil, your car's coolant must be formulated to perform at cold temperatures as well as at operating temperature. A 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze is typically recommended so that when outside temperatures dip below freezing, the fluid in your coolant system won't also freeze!
Whether your car is low on coolant or operating at normal levels, it's a good idea to occasionally flush and refill the coolant system with fresh fluid, ensuring the recommended mix of antifreeze and water for trouble-free year-round driving.
During the cold months of winter, you'll surely be relying on your car's heater system more than any other time of year. With frigid early morning temperatures, it's important to know that your heater system is up to the task of warming up your car's interior quickly and efficiently.
Driving with a foggy windshield and windows is dangerous. Help ensure that you maintain outward visibility by having your defroster tested and serviced if needed.
A properly operating defroster will help promote forward visibility on the inside of your windshield, but that's only half of the solution. Help maintain a clear line-of-vision through the exterior of your windshield with regular wiper blade inspections.
If your car's wiper blades are old or worn due to exposure to the elements, then you'll be better off by replacing them as soon as you can. Over time, the rubber that contacts the windshield can become brittle, and the cold temperatures and increased use in winter can signal the end of a pair of wiper blades that were already on their last leg.
Most windshield wipers are designed to be replaced frequently, or about every 6-12 months. If you can't remember the last time yours were changed, then it's time for an inspection and potential replacement.
Exposure to extreme heat or cold can strain and drain a car battery. Batteries don't like the cold, so winter is a common time for them to fail.
Car batteries typically last for 3-5 years, so if your current battery is approaching these limits, it's a good idea to have it tested and inspected before you're suddenly left with a dead battery in chilly temperatures. No one wants that!
Your auto service center can not only test your battery to determine its health but inspect its posts, terminals and cables to ensure a strong connection. Whether your battery needs charging, replacement or just a good cleaning of its contact points, you'll be grateful to have a properly operating battery for dependable winter transportation.
Worn tires are dangerous any time of year, but when winter brings slick and icy roads, it's even more important to have a good set of tires under you. Four-wheel drive (4WD), all-wheel drive (AWD) and powerful brakes can only do so much if the rubber they rely on to stop, accelerate and corner doesn't have the necessary grip to perform these actions safely.
A quick tire inspection by trained technicians can help alleviate any issues that may arise. Inflation or rotation services may be all that is needed to help ensure safe travel on your current tires this winter season.
If your tires are low on tread or show uneven wear, a tire rotation may not be enough. In this case, tire replacement may be in order.
Depending on the local climate and the roads you travel during the colder months, a set of winter tires may be recommended. Otherwise, a good set of all-season tires will do just fine for many climates. Don't forget to check the condition of your spare tire if your vehicle is equipped with one!
Last but not least on our list of tips for getting your car ready for winter is a good old fashioned emergency kit. Well, we recommend you go with a kit of modern equipment, but you get the idea.
You may already have a standard emergency kit in your vehicle; if so, congrats for thinking ahead! A standard kit may include flares, reflective triangles, a flashlight and extra batteries, a toolkit and jumper cables or a portable jump starter.
We also recommend you stock your car with winter-specific items like warm blankets, gloves and a soft-bristled snow brush with a plastic scraper. If you're heading to the mountains during the winter, then you should be extra-prepared, with tire chains (if allowed or required in your area), a small shovel and maybe even some sand; these items could help you from getting stuck in the snow.
Seattle area motorists can turn to Honda Auto Center Of Bellevue for comprehensive auto care, including routine car maintenance for winter and all driving seasons. Our Bellevue, WA, car dealership is home to a dedicated Honda service center and parts department that is here to serve local drivers with high-quality care at affordable prices.
Whether you drive a Honda automobile or another make of car, truck or SUV in the Bellevue area, we welcome you to contact our service advisors for more information on getting your car ready for winter. Our team of trained and certified service staff is eager to help you and your car be prepared for winter driving!