Winter Care Care Tips

by | Mar 18, 2020 | Best Practices

Winter can be tough on your vehicle, especially when you live in a place like Chicago. To ensure optimal performance and that you don’t get stranded in the cold, here are nine tips for maintaining your car throughout the winter.

1. Regularly check tire pressure

Not only does winter bring hazardous driving conditions, but cold weather also reduces tire pressure. Tire pressure is essential for maintaining safe traction and handling on the road. Stay safe this winter by making sure your tires are properly inflated, which provides more than peace of mind and car safety; it improves fuel efficiency, saving you gas money.

2. Check your tire tread

Along the same lines, inspect your tire tread. An inspection can be done easily with a penny: if you insert a penny into the tire tread head first, and you can still see Lincoln’s forehead, it’s time to replace your tires.

3. Replace your windshield wipers

Replacing windshield wipers is especially important if you live in colder climates where snow, ice, and salt greatly decrease visibility. We recommend that you replace them every six months. If you need advice on which windshield wiper blade’s best for you, stop by one of HEART Certified Auto Care shops located in Northbrook, Wilmette, or Evanston.

4. Check your headlights

Winter days are gray and short, meaning you need to make sure your headlights and turn signals are both working properly and are bright enough. Test them all in your driveway or in a parking lot. If your headlights are dim, dirty, or burned out, call one of HEART’s car repair professionals for a replacement or inspection.

5. Keep your car’s emergency kit stocked

Every car should have an emergency roadside kit that includes first aid supplies, water, snacks, blankets, road flairs, a phone charger, and other supplies you may need if you find yourself stranded. If you use some of the supplies, make sure you replace it before venturing out into the winter cold again.

6. Check your battery

The last thing you want is a dead battery that strands you on a dark winter night. While most batteries last up to five years, it’s best to test yours every six months, at least. Batteries should operate at a minimum of 12.6 V, but ideally between 13.7-14.7 V. If you need further assistance, call or stop by one of HEART’s three Chicago area locations: HEART Northbrook, HEART Evanston, or HEART Wilmette.

7. It’s time for an oil change

Large temperature fluctuations that often come during the beginning and end of winter can thin oil consistency, making it less effective. That’s why you should always stay on top of your oil change intervals, especially in winter. If you need help, stop by a HEART Certified Auto Care location near you.

8. Check your car’s coolant

Engine coolant, or antifreeze, isn’t just important on hot summer days. It also keeps your engine from getting too cold during the winter months. That’s why you have to make sure your engine’s coolant is filled and running properly. If it’s been more than five years since you last flushed your car’s coolant, bring it in to your local car repair shop to do so. It’s recommended every five years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first.

9. Check your car’s heater and defroster

These two functions are a must in the winter. You should test your car heater and car defroster before driving in the extreme cold to make sure you stay warm and safe getting where you’re going this winter.

For more winter car care tips and expert car service you can trust, call or visit HEART Northbrook, HEART Wilmette, or HEART Evanston. We don’t just restore your car; we restore your faith in auto service.

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