With winter right around the corner, now is a good time to check your vehicle is ready to rumble for the colder months to come. And although our winters here in the city of Melbourne, don’t entail excessive ice or snow, there are several things you should do to prep your ride for the plummeting temps.
Follow these seven simple maintenance tips to get your car cold weather-ready before the first frosts arrive.
1. Check Your Oil
Doing a regular check-up of your oil levels is a fundamental pillar of proper car maintenance, and this crucial task is even more essential during the winter months. Ideally, you should aim to undertake the process once a week or so. But don’t worry; it’s easy enough for a layman to do.
- Turn off the engine.
- Wait five minutes for the oil to settle.
- Remove the dipstick and wipe off any grease.
- Insert the dipstick the whole way in.
- Wait one second and take it out.
- Check that the oil level sits between the two marks shown on the dipstick.
If the oil sits below the recommended amount, you’ll need to top it up. But remember, it’s never a good idea to use two different types of oil, so you’ll need to work out which one you used last time. If in doubt, get in touch with the mechanic who performed your previous scheduled maintenance.
2. Check Your Wipers
Your windscreen wipers aren’t just there for convenience; they’re an essential safety feature as well. Not being able to wipe off the water from melted ice will reduce visibility and pose a danger on the roads, so you must check these are functioning correctly.
Run your wipers to ensure the mechanical component works, and that the wipers run on multiple speed settings. If you hear an unpleasant scraping sound, you’ve probably got worn out wiper blades that are creating friction on the glass. You can pick up a new pair from any auto parts store and replace them yourself—just be sure you get the right model.
It’s also a good idea to double-check your windscreen wiper fluid is suitable for low temperatures.
3. Check Your Heater
Your heater provides an essential service each day as you brave freezing temperatures on your daily commute to work. And if this critical piece of hardware were to stop functioning, you’d be in for an unpleasant morning routine.
Determining whether your heaters are in good working order is pretty simple: just turn them on and see if they blast out hot air. Remember to wait a minute because it’s normal for them to take some time to heat up. And don’t forget to check the defrosting heaters on your windshield as these are essential during the winter months.
4. Check Your Radiator
You need to make sure your radiator is filled to the correct level with a suitable anti-freeze fluid; otherwise, it could bust a leak or cause your transmission to conk out, both of which are costly things to fix. Again, it’s a relatively simple process you can DIY. Just be sure to follow these instructions carefully to avoid injury.
- Turn off the engine and allow your car to cool for several hours. Attempting to open a hot radiator can result in serious injury
- Use a rag or protective glove to slowly open the cap a tiny bit. Opening the cap too quickly or too far can cause the coolant to boil and result in serious injury.
- Slowly open the cap the rest of the way and check the fluid level with a dipstick.
5. Check Your Battery
The last thing you want on a cold winter’s evening is for your tired old battery to run flat. And just because you’ve never had a problem in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Cold weather does adversely affect battery capacity, after all.
Auto repairers will test your battery as part of a routine check-up.
6. Stock an Emergency Kit
It’s prudent to be prepared for a breakdown, and it’s an easy task you only ever have to do once. Assemble an emergency kit containing water, a warm blanket, some non-perishable food, a flashlight, a power bank, and jumper cables to store in your boot.
7. Run Your Car Regularly
Most cars don’t need you to warm up the engine before driving in the cold—that’s a common misconception in the auto world. However, it is important to drive your car regularly to ensure all the fluids flow freely around their respective parts. If you’re not an everyday driver, aim to start your vehicle at least once a week.
Now you can feel confident your car is in good working order; it makes sense to pay attention to its aesthetics as well. Get in touch with your local motor vehicle specialists for services such as paintless dent removal and smash repairs in Melbourne. Hiring a company with decades of experience servicing prestige automobiles in the region, will get your precious ride looking good as new.