Winter Maintenance Tips For Your Vehicle
Throughout the winter months, we all want our vehicles to work properly no matter the weather.
We have compiled a shortlist of five winter maintenance tips to keep in mind as the temperatures dip outside. The last thing you want is to be stranded by a vehicle that can’t or won’t go where you want it to. Take some time out of your schedule to take care of these easy preventive-care steps, and you’ll be prepared for any kind of weather this winter brings.
Tip 1: Check Your Battery Health
Nothing affects your vehicle’s battery like cold weather. Frigid temperatures can wreak havoc on your battery’s cranking power. When the temperatures dip to about 0° F, a battery has only about half the cranking power it has at 80° F.
Checking a battery is easy. Just remove the plastic caps on the top and check the fluid level. Always check your owner’s manual for full instructions and considerations when checking your battery. If the fluid is low, add distilled water. For maintenance-free batteries, make sure the battery indicates that it is fully charged. If the battery is more than five years old and shows signs of weakness, replace the battery as soon as possible.
At East Coast Toyota, we can easily replace or service your battery. Your battery may just need to be charged. However, if the battery is somehow defective or just worn out, the best course of action may be to replace the battery entirely.
Tip 2: Clean Your Windows
Wintertime often means frosty windshields. Using an ice scraper to remove frost, ice and snow from the windshield will save your wiper blades and help keep you safe. If you can’t see out the windows, you’re a danger to yourself and everyone around. If you park outside and remember to do so, placing the wipers in the raised position when it’s going to snow overnight will keep them from freezing to the windshield.
Try using a winter-blend washer solution to help wash the dirt, mud, and salt residue from your windshield. The winter-blend contains an antifreeze agent designed for use in cold weather. Test your defrost by making sure the heater is working properly. Running the air-conditioning with the temperature set at a comfortable level will help prevent your windshield from fogging up. Finally, wash the lenses or your headlights so that you have the best possible nighttime visibility.
Tip 3: Replace Your Wiper Blades
Wiper blades do not last as long as you might think. When you start getting streaks or wipers miss parts of the windshield, it might be time to replace the blades. While it’s possible to stretch their life by cleaning the rubber edge of the blade periodically with a paper towel and glass cleaner, it isn’t safe to do that all winter long. Instead, get yourself new blades. We recommend replacing wiper blades as often as twice per year. East Coast Toyota’s service department keeps wiper blades in stock for easy replacement.
Tip 4: Check the Oil in Your Engine
Oil change service is at the heart of basic car maintenance. Winter weather can be hard on your engine. Oil naturally gets thicker when weather temperatures dip, and this makes it harder for the engine to turn over. Each manufacturer has specific recommendations for oil change service, so remember to check your owner’s manual. The oil filter should be replaced at each oil change.
As part of the basic car maintenance during an oil change, make sure the radiator and heater hoses are checked for cracks and leaks.
Tip 5: Check Your Tire Health
Don’t wait until it is a necessity to discover that your tires are worn. Living in an area with winter weather, you should at least consider all-season tires that perform well in snow-traction and ice-braking tests. You can also consider buying winter tires. These tires, specifically designed to perform well on snow and ice, have a shorter tread life but provide extra safety and security during the winter months.
Even if it isn’t time to replace your tires, make sure that you keep them properly inflated. Tire pressure naturally declines with cold weather, so keep an eye on your tire pressure. Big temperature drops mean your tires will lose air because tire pressure declines with the thermometer.
As a NJ Toyota Dealer, East Coast Toyota’s technicians are experienced in performing the services needed to keep your Toyota running smoothly in all types of weather. Give our service department a call at 201-438-5659, or visit the Toyota auto repair service center at 181 Broad Street, Carlstadt, New Jersey to speak with a Toyota-trained technician.