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Winter Car Maintenance Tips: Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Closeup of car tire driving on snow

B.C. winters can be hard on your vehicle. That’s why winter car care is essential for keeping your ride running smoothly and efficiently. Booking a winter car maintenance service at a reputable and trusted auto centre has many benefits. Here are some winter car maintenance tips to help get your vehicle ready for winter.

What Does Winter Car Maintenance Do for Your Vehicle?

Annual winter car maintenance improves your vehicle’s efficiency and power. During your tune-up, a technician will visually inspect the vehicle’s components, install new parts and clean up dirt and debris to help improve gas mileage.

Tune-ups are relatively inexpensive and can save you money in the long run. A technician can identify and fix minor issues, saving you thousands of dollars in major repairs. Moreover, maximizing your engine’s efficiency means you’ll spend less at the pump. Winter car care will also save you from the agony of turning the ignition on a cold winter morning only to find that your car won’t start.

Winter Car Maintenance Checklist

Here’s what to expect during a winter car maintenance service:

  • Battery. Car batteries tend to die in cold temperatures. Therefore, ensure your battery is ready for winter with a load test. A load test measures your battery’s capacity and charge. Besides a load test, a technician can clean the battery connections and remove any corrosion from the terminals.
  • Brakes. You need your brakes primed and ready for winter, especially in icy conditions when it’s difficult to stop. A technician can check the rotors, ensure your brake pads have adequate depth and examine the condition of the brake fluid.
  • Engine. A pre-diagnostic check for winter includes replacing spark plugs, checking for pressure leaks, examining wiring and ensuring your engine is efficient, clean and ready for the demands of winter.
  • Exhaust. Your exhaust system can be a source of excessive pollution if it isn’t properly maintained. Consequently, checking for carbon monoxide leaks and other hazards is critical during a tune-up. Additionally, having your muffler checked is helpful to ensure your car is running as efficiently as possible.
  • Heaters and defrosters. You don’t want to be driving when your defroster stops working. That’s why it’s essential to inspect yours to ensure it’ll work when you need it. Furthermore, rust and debris can build up in the core of your heater, so have a technician clean out the cowling area so air and coolant can move freely through the system.
  • Tires. Winter tires are mandatory in some regions of B.C. and are highly recommended for anyone driving in winter conditions. A winter car maintenance tune-up is the perfect time to make the switch. A technician can ensure your tires have adequate tread and are free of cracks and bulges.

    Also, regularly monitor your tire’s air pressure, as fluctuating temperatures can cause the air inside them to expand and contract. Driving on tires with low air pressure is inefficient. It also reduces your ability to turn and stop, increasing the risk of a fender-bender.

  • Oil change. An essential part of your winter tune-up is an oil change and filter check. Dirty oil decreases efficiency. Therefore, starting the season off with an engine that’s clean, well-lubricated and ready to run is ideal.
  • Cooling system. You must clean the deposits off the inside of your radiator, so they don’t clog the cooling system hoses and cause your engine to overheat. Your engine’s antifreeze, or coolant, also degrades over time. Old antifreeze can cause freezing ruptures in the engine and problems starting your vehicle in cold temperatures. You may require an antifreeze flush to ensure you’re ready for cold starting.
  • Windshield wipers and fluid. If your windshield wipers leave streaks with every pass, wipe them with a cloth and see if it helps. If not, consider replacing them. Wiper blades come in different lengths and sizes, so you need to know what type your car supports.

A winter car maintenance tune-up is an excellent opportunity to replace your wiper blades to keep your field of vision clear. Also, fill your reservoir with winter washer fluid to ensure it won’t freeze in extreme cold. Remove ice and snow from your windshield before you drive to keep your blades in good condition, and fold your blades out when parking outside, so they don’t freeze to the glass.

Winter Car Maintenance Tips

Protecting your car’s body is important in winter. Road salts, sand, ice and snow can damage your paint job and body. If you have a garage, use it. If you must park your car outside, a car cover can protect it from the elements. Moreover, wash your car regularly to remove corrosive de-icing chemicals, and ensure you include the vehicle’s undercarriage.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to prepare a winter emergency kit that includes the following items:

  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • A blanket or sleeping bag
  • Extra boots, gloves and hats
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Bandages, antiseptic, tweezers and supplies for cleaning wounds
  • A four-way lug wrench, hammer, small shovel, hose clamps and multi-tool
  • Sand, cat litter or tire chains for extra traction

Finally, keep battery jumper cables in your car all year long.

Winter Car Maintenance and Auto Repair in B.C.

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, we can help you prepare your vehicle for any season. Our winter and fall maintenance tune-ups ensure your car is dependable, warm and efficient, regardless of the wintry conditions outside.

Get your car ready for winter by visiting one of our auto repair shops near you for a timely fall and winter car maintenance service. For questions about auto repairs in Vancouver and surrounding cities, or our comprehensive list of services, contact a centre in your area.


Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres Address Common Issues

Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.