Preparing Your Car For Cold Weather

Although snow and ice don’t pummel San Diego during the winter, you still need to know how ‘winterize’ your car for the upcoming season.

With stormy days and nights on the way, it’s best to prepare your car for cold weather sooner than later.

Here are 7 ways how to prep your car San Diego-style before the weather gets nasty.

Regular Service – Colder temperatures make your major systems work harder to produce the same results, according to Abraham Chavez, owner of Griffin’s Auto Repair in downtown San Diego. Maintaining your cooling system – and possibly having your coolant system flushed – can help your car run more efficiently and reduce the possibility of costly cooling system repair.

Battery Check – Colder weather puts extra strain on your battery. Make sure to check under the hood for leaking fluids and proper connectivity. If that seems too technical to do yourself, take it to a professional who can also check the strength of your battery, advises Chavez. With batteries lasting between 5 to 7 years, it’s best to replace it before a dead battery leaves you stranded.

Oil Change – Having your oil changed according to the manufacture’s guidelines is vital to your car running properly – especially during cold winter nights. Oil changed on schedule can help avoid a breakdown and costly repair work. While changing your own oil used to be more common, new regulations make it more challenging, so consider having a professional do it.

Wipers – Since it doesn’t rain much here, we don’t use our wipers very often. But even without continuous use, the effects of the sun can cause the rubber to split and crack. Auto care experts recommend that wipers should be changed twice per year. It’s a good idea to replace them now before the rainy weather starts.

Tires – While we don’t drive on snow and ice, driving in the rain with worn tires can be dangerous, even causing your car to hydroplane. According to tire experts Goodyear, tires need to be replaced when the tread has been worn down to 2/32”. Goodyear recommends an easy coin test to check your tires. First, insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see his entire head, your tread is less than 2/32”, which means it’s time to replace your tires.

Brakes – The life of your brakes is based on several factors – from how often you drive in city traffic to how many hills and curves you maneuver each day. With its complex network of roads and freeways meandering through valleys and up hills, driving in San Diego can wreak havoc on brakes. While 8,000 miles is the general rule for replacing brake pads, have a professional check your brakes when you hear the faintest squeak, squeal or grinding.

Wax – Rainy days do not mean free car washes. Actually, it’s just the opposite. Use the correct cleaning products to remove grime before it damages the finish. Then, make sure to apply a high quality top coat of wax to protect the finish from pollutants, rain and the sun’s harmful rays.

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