Although winter in Plano, Texas, is relatively mild, the significant drop in temperatures and other conditions can prevent your vehicle from working as it should. From under-inflated tires to a weak battery, an array of issues can occur and make driving challenging and even dangerous. Therefore, it’s essential to properly maintain your car during winter so that it can handle the additional burden and strain that cold weather brings. The following is a list of things you should do to get your vehicle ready for winter:
Test Your Exterior Lights
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Days are shorter in the winter months, meaning you’ll be spending more time driving in the dark. Also, rain, snow, and fog can hamper your visibility and make it more difficult for other motorists to see your vehicle, which can increase your risk of being involved in an accident. Therefore, you should test all your exterior lights to make sure they’re in good working order, including the headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, high-beam lights, and fog lights.
If one of your exterior lights is dim or flickering, you may have a worn or damaged bulb, faulty alternator, or electrical issue. The best way to diagnose the problem is to have your car professionally inspected. Also, if you notice dirt or grime buildup on the lenses of your lights, clean it out with a wet cloth. Avoid using a dry rag as it may leave scratches that can cause the lenses to become cloudy.
Get a Battery Inspection
Have you ever wondered why vehicles take a longer time to start in winter? Low temperatures slow down the chemical reactions in your car battery, causing it to struggle to produce the necessary electric power to turn over the engine. Additionally, the battery tends to drain faster in cold weather. If you fail to regularly check the charge level of your battery, you’re more likely to experience starting problems, which can leave you stranded.
While you can perform a volt test on your car battery yourself, it’s best that you get a professional battery inspection at your local service center. A service center has advanced equipment for measuring the electrical output of your battery, which enables them to perform a highly accurate assessment. Also, they’ll look for signs that can spell trouble down the road, such as a damaged battery case, corrosion, or potential leaks.
Check Your Tires
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When it rains or snows during winter, road conditions become sloppy and slippery, making it harder for your vehicle to maintain traction. If your tires aren’t in good condition, you’re at a higher risk of losing control of your car and getting into an accident. As such, you have to make sure your tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread.
Cold temperatures can cause your tires to lose pressure faster than normal. So, you should check your tire pressure more often during winter, preferably at least once a month. Refer to your owner’s manual or the placard label on the driver’s side door jamb to determine the ideal tire pressure for your specific vehicle.
According to Texas laws, you’re required to have tires with a minimum tread depth of 1/16th of an inch. To know if your tires have enough tread, you can either use a tire tread depth gauge or perform the penny test. The penny test involves inserting a penny into one of the tire’s grooves with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of his head, the treads are too shallow and worn, meaning you need to replace your tires.
If your tires still have ample tread but they’re showing uneven wear, you may want to consider going to a service center for a tire rotation. This procedure involves swapping the positions of your tires so that they’ll wear at the same rate. Having your tires rotated regularly can reduce your tire replacement interval and save you money in the long run.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers if Necessary
Windshield wipers generally need to be changed once a year. During winter, your wipers have to be in great shape to remove rain, snow, and dirt from your windshield. If they’ve dried up or cracked, you should replace them with new ones. You may want to consider switching to newer models that come with a beam blade. These wipers hug the contours of your windshield, enabling them to wipe away water and dirt more effectively.
In addition, you need to refill your windshield washer fluid reservoir more frequently during the winter months. A single winter storm can use up a large amount of fluid. In times of freezing temperatures, you can prevent your washer fluid from becoming frozen by adding a bottle of antifreeze to the reservoir. You can purchase this in most auto parts stores. Our winter car guide can also be of help in case you experience bad weather.
Fill Up Your Gas Tank Frequently
Keeping your gas tank full is more important in winter than at any other time of the year. This is because a full tank can reduce condensation, which helps prevent the gas line from freezing. Additionally, it ensures that the engine and heat will keep running if you happen to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Allow Your Engine to Warm Up
With a modern vehicle, you can start driving immediately after turning on the ignition. However, this doesn’t mean you should skip warming up your car. If you allow your car to idle for a while before you drive, you’ll give the engine oil a chance to heat up and thin out so that it can flow more smoothly. This is especially important in winter when low temperatures put an extra strain on your engine. You don’t need to rev up the engine as it can warm up just fine at idle.
The best way to prepare your vehicle for winter in Plano is to have it thoroughly inspected and serviced at Huffines Hyundai Plano. Our dealership has a state-of-the-art service center that provides a wide range of quality auto services to keep your Hyundai running in peak condition throughout the winter months, from battery inspection to windshield wiper replacement. Contact us today to schedule a service appointment.