This week’s earlier than usual cold snap must serve as a reminder to motorists that they should prepare their vehicle for winter. Preparing the car in advance of winter will save the motorist’s time, money and frustration when the temperature reaches single digits.
In preparation for the coming cold weather conditions, motorists must have their battery and charging systems checked particularly if the battery is more than 3 years old. Even good batteries can lose about 50% of their capacity when temperatures drop to zero and below. At 32 degrees, the battery will need 30% more power to start a cold engine.
The ignition system of a car is one of the most overlooked components. If the ignition wires are damaged or the distributor cap is cracked, the ignition system will fail. Worn out spark plugs will make starting difficult. An indication of an engine misfire that could result into a malfunctioning ignition system is the flashing Check Engine Light. Driving with flashing Check Engine Light can result into permanent damage on the engine’s catalytic convertor.
The best traction can be provided by winter tires on all the 4 wheels particularly in areas with heavy winter weather. Winter tires are formulated from stickier rubber compounds that work better in very cold weather conditions. All-season tires have adequate tread depth for light to moderate snow. Check for uneven tire wear because it is an indication of alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed immediately to prevent more expensive repairs.
When the engine is cold, you need to check the level of the coolant in the overflow tank. If the level is low, you should add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to protect the car’s engine up to -34degrees. There are cheap testers that can be used to check the antifreeze protection levels.
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