The oil in your car's engine can change depending on temperatures outside. Because outside temperatures can effect the internal temperature of your engine, you need to use proper oil for weather conditions. If you live where temperatures get below freezing in the winter months, you will want to switch to thinner oil. If you run a 10W-30 in the summer, for example, try moving to a 5W-30 when changing your oil in the fall or winter.
The coolant in your vehicle is used for more than just keeping your engine from overheating. It is also used to protect your engine against corrosion. Before it gets too cold outside, be sure your coolant has ethylene glycol to help protect your engine. Every car takes a certain coolant to water ratio. For most vehicles, a winter ratio is 60% coolant to 40% water. Adjusting to this ration is an important step in winterizing your vehicle.
Your vehicle's battery capacity is reduced by cold weather. Thoroughly inspecting these parts will help you make sure your car is winter ready:
- Check battery cables for breaks or cracks
- Terminals should fit tightly with no loose connections
- Check your battery fluid by uncovering the refill hole. If level is below the bottom of the cap, refill with distilled water.
Turn off your engine to check the charge level in your battery. While inspecting your battery, look for the manufacture date. This will help you know when your battery will begin to lose charge and need replacing.
Mounting the right tires on your vehicle can give you an advantage when dealing with difficult road conditions. Most manufactureres recommend all four of your tires be changed for the winter. The difference between snow and summer tires can cause problems while driving if you don't. For extreme conditions, you can buy tires with studs on them to maximize tire traction and safety.