I’m often asked what happens when we have a cold spell where the temperatures drop below freezing for a week or more. Here’s where basic maintenance is the most often overlooked.
1.) If your battery is three years or older, then you need to have it checked, even though the engine is starting fine. As the temperature drops below freezing the battery power decreases substantially. The reason that we do not notice the weak battery is because today’s fuel injected engines start right up.
2.) To improve your safety in winter driving I offer these tips:
- High-quality wiper blades and washer fluid are critical. Make sure you have wiper blades with a rubber-coated blade frame.
- Get a quality washer fluid that does not freeze below 32 degrees, and offers a cleaning additive — such as an orange color or purple color washer fluid.
- Never dilute the washer fluid.
- Another area of concern are freezing door and trunk lock cylinders, so a good lock lubrication is important. Lubrication of the rubber door and trunk seals is a good idea, too. Use any kind of silicone spray.
3.) One final piece of advice: Make sure you have the proper tire pressure.
- In cold weather, tire pressure drops a few pounds, which is enough to set the “tire pressure light.” The pressure will rise again as the tire temperature increases.
- Setting the tire pressure 3 to 5 pounds above the recommended the manufacturer’s specs will not cause any issues. (This is not recommended for drivers in the Sun Belt region).
Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.
E-mail questions for publication to [email protected]
Mail questions with SASE to: Motor Matters, PO Box 3305, Wilmington, DE 19804