Vehicle Maintenance Tips for Winter

Winter can be tough on your car, but with a little maintenance and preparation, you can keep your ride in top condition throughout the season. Follow these eight winter car care tips to help your vehicle run smoothly until spring.

1. Have Your Car Serviced

Before winter arrives, take your car to a certified mechanic. A thorough inspection ensures your car’s systems are functioning properly. The mechanic can also spot potential issues and address them before they escalate into major problems, reducing the risk of a breakdown and saving you money on future car repairs.

2. Test the Battery

Vehicle Maintenance Tips for Winter in Baltimore, MD

Cold weather is hard on your car battery, so it’s important to test it before winter sets in. A weak battery may not provide enough power to start the car when it’s below freezing. This means you should replace it, even if the car starts fine in warm weather. That way, you won’t end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. You can also keep your battery properly charged by turning off all electrical systems when you shut off the engine.

3. Check the Coolant

Coolant maintains a proper operating temperature for the engine, which is critical for optimal performance and fuel efficiency. Coolant gets the most attention in the summer because it prevents overheating, but it also keeps the engine from freezing and cracking in extreme cold. Therefore, checking the coolant level and condition throughout the winter is essential to ensure proper protection against the cold.

4. Look for Burned-Out Lights

Winter nights are long, meaning you rely on your headlights more often. Burned-out bulbs lead to unsafe driving conditions and can get you pulled over by the police, so ensure all your car’s lights function properly, including your headlights, taillights, and turn signals.

5. Measure the Tire Tread

Good tire tread provides better traction on wet and icy roads, so make sure your tires are in good condition before the first snowstorm of the season. Measuring tire tread depth is easy—all you need is a penny. Place the penny with Lincoln’s head facing down into the groove. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, the tread is too shallow, and it’s time to replace your tires. Perform this test in multiple spots on all four tires to accurately tell when you should replace them.

6. Check the Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is another important factor that affects handling and safety in winter weather. Cold temperatures cause the tire pressure to drop, so check each one regularly using a simple tire gauge. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your car in the owner’s manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb.

7. Consider Changing to Winter Tires

Heavy snow and ice are typical during the Maryland winter, so it may be worth switching to winter tires for better traction than all-season tires can provide. Winter tires have a specialized tread pattern and softer rubber compounds optimized for cold conditions. This allows them to maintain flexibility and grip the road better in low temperatures, resulting in improved braking, acceleration, and handling. Switching to winter tires greatly enhances your vehicle’s performance and safety, thus reducing the risk of accidents in the winter.

8. Prepare for Long Journeys

If you’re planning a winter road trip, take extra precautions to ensure safety. First, stock an emergency kit and keep it in your trunk. This should include a flashlight, folding shovel, kitty litter for traction, snow and ice scraper, blanket, first aid kit, and non-perishable food and water. Then, make sure your car is in good condition before you hit the road by checking the oil level, topping off the windshield wiper fluid, and testing the defroster. Finally, check the weather forecast and road conditions before you leave, and plan your route accordingly. If a storm is incoming, consider leaving early or postponing your trip, if possible.

Schedule Wheel & Rim Repair in Baltimore

Winter car maintenance is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely throughout the season. By following this winter car maintenance checklist, your car will be ready to handle whatever comes your way. However, even with proper maintenance, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s important to have a reliable and trustworthy professional to turn to when you need repairs.

At Rim Doctor, we specialize in repairing and restoring wheel and rim damage, including curb rash, scratches, and dents. Thanks to our high-quality services, we can get your car looking like new again and back on the road in no time. With these vehicle maintenance tips and help from Rim Doctor, you’ll stay safe and comfortable on the road this winter. Contact us today at (443) 410-3124 for a wheel and rim repair estimate in Baltimore, MD.