9 Ways to Keep Your Car Healthy During Winter

The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, unforgiving winter weather. A vehicle check before the temperatures drop is the ideal way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold and left with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs, but it can be done anytime during the season.

Here’s 9 ways to keep your car healthy during Winter:

  • Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers are working properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. In Maine, look for a washer fluid that has a freezing point of at least -20 F. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. Severely worn tires will become even more of a hazard in slippery conditions. Also, consider having winter tires installed, as they are designed to grip slick roads and the tire compounds are optimized to work at cold temperatures. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly, since air pressure is effected by changes in the temperature.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter, especially during periods when the engine is warming up to normal operating temperature. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  • If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Finally, make sure exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

It’s also recommended that motorists keep their gas tank at least half-full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare tires and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication. Click here to browse safety items in our online accessory catalog.

The experts at Portland Volvo Cars are always on hand to answer your vehicle questions, and we also offer a specially designed Winter Ready service. Click here to schedule online, or call (207) 883-5568 to speak with a Service Advisor today.

Categories: Service, News
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