The New Year Is Here! How About Some Resolutions…For Your Car?

January 4th, 2016

The holidays are over, the new year is upon us and everyone’s made out a list of resolutions that they know they’re not going to stick with. The beginning of January, though, means that there’s a solid couple of months of winter left…so consider some New Year’s resolutions for your car.

At Don Owen Tire & Auto in Bloomington, IL, we’ve got a few ideas for you:                

·         Battery: Your car’s battery has a particularly hard job in cold weather. Motor oil thickens at low temperatures, making it harder for the battery and starter to turn the engine over. In addition, cold weather slows the chemical reaction between lead and acid in the battery’s cells; at 20 degrees F, the battery can only deliver about half its rated cranking power. It’s a good idea to give your battery a health checkup; if it’s a little weak, consider replacing it with the most robust battery you can find. Batteries are rated to match specific vehicles and engines, but it can’t hurt to buy a battery that’s actually a little overrated for your car. In addition, make sure that your battery’s posts, cables and connections are tight, secure and free of corrosion.

·         Tires: Remember that gases contract in cold weather and your tires will actually lose a little bit of pressure at low temperatures. Tire inflation is just as important in the winter, so remember to check your inflation levels regularly. Also make sure that you have plenty of tread depth on your all-season tires; if you opt for winter tires, remember that they should be changed once temperatures regularly top 40 degrees. The soft rubber compound of winter tires will wear them quickly in warmer temperatures.

·         Wash and wax: It might seem like a cosmetic thing, but a good wash-and-wax job on your car can help protect against snow, ice, grit and winter road chemicals. That means protecting your finish and lessening the chance of body rust.

·         Cooling system: The cooling system protects against freezeups as well as protecting your car from overheating; a freezeup might mean pushing out the engine’s freeze plugs, or it could mean a cracked block or head. Make sure that your car’s coolant (a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water) is in good shape; it will not only help prevent corrosion but can improve the efficiency of your heater and defroster.

·         Oil change: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should neglect your oil changes. Synthetic oil is more stable than conventional oil, meaning it doesn’t thicken at low temperatures or thin out when hot. Winter also means that the engine takes longer to warm up. If you take very many short trips where the engine doesn’t warm up completely, condensation can contaminate oil, so it’s a good idea to keep clean, fresh oil in the crankcase.

Winter is hard on everyone, and it’s hard on vehicles as well. At Don Owen Tire & Auto in Bloomington, IL, we want you and your car to get through this winter safely. Better winter car care is one New Year’s Resolution that shouldn’t be hard to stick to – give us a call and make an appointment so we can help you make sure your car’s in good shape for the winter months to come. 

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101