Winter Car Repairs: Tips For Keeping Your Vehicle in Top Shape

Blog

Feb. 29, 2024

The cold weather and harsh winter conditions in Nova Scotia can make driving a challenge. For vehicle owners, especially those with pre-owned cars, this marks the beginning of a season that can challenge even the most reliable vehicles. Ensuring your vehicle is prepared to weather the storms isn't just a matter of convenience -- it's about safety and longevity on the road.

Race Auto Group understands the significance of winter car repairs in Nova Scotia. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the specifics of winter car repair and give you some car maintenance tips, equipping you with invaluable information that can keep you driving confidently and safely through the season.

1. Prepare for Harsh Weather Conditions

The first step in winterizing your vehicle is to prepare for the unforgiving climate. From proper winter tires to the right wiper blades, a few adjustments are

all it takes to completely change your winter driving experience.

Tire Check: Traction is Key

It's time to give your tires the spotlight. Worn-out treads are a recipe for disaster on slippery roads. Swap out your all-seasons for a set of snow-rated tires with better tread depth or studded snow tires for maximum snow traction. It’s a worthwhile investment when it comes to safety.

It's also important to routinely monitor the pressure in your tires, as cold weather can decrease tire pressure and make your vehicle less stable on the road.

The Importance of Antifreeze

Antifreeze or coolant is your primary guard against the cold weather. Ensure the levels are adequate to prevent the engine from freezing. Check for leaks in your cooling system, as antifreeze spills on the road can be hazardous to pets and wildlife.

See Clearly with Winter Wiper Blades

Visibility is often compromised in winter conditions. Toss those regular wipers and install winter blades for a clearer view. These wipers are designed to keep snow and ice from building up and impeding your sightline.

2. Stay Ahead: Keep Your Car Ready All Winter Long

The cold can be particularly hard on certain car components. Prioritize the critical elements that are prone to causing issues during the winter months.

Battery Health Check

The battery is the heart of the electrical system and it works doubly hard in the winter season. If your battery is over three years old, have it tested for strength. Consider replacing it if it's showing signs of weakness to keep you from experiencing frustrating dead battery scenarios.

Heating System: It's Not Just About Comfort

While staying warm is essential, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system also plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your vehicle. Regularly run the heater to prevent mechanical issues due to inactivity.

Ice and Snow Removal

Your entire car must be free of ice and snow. Always clear your windshield, side mirrors, lights, and the car's roof completely before hitting the road, even on a cold morning when you've got to get to work. Partial clearing can impair vision for you and other drivers and lead to accidents.

3. Maintain Fluids and Lubrication

Effective liquid care is an all-year-round requirement, but the colder temperatures can make this essential.

Engine Oil Is the Lifeblood of Your Vehicle

Check your engine oil level and top it off if needed. Cold temperatures can make oil thicker, which increases the strain on the engine. Check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommended viscosity to keep your engine working properly.

No More Grimy Glass

Your washer fluid is just as important as the oil in your engine; replenish your windshield wiper fluid with a winter-grade fluid to prevent freezing and reduced visibility.

Keep Your Brakes Sharp

Your brakes are a critical component of safety. Ensuring that your brake fluid is at the correct level is just one part of a good winter car maintenance routine. Regularly inspect the brake pads and rotors, as they can also wear out with heavy winter usage.

4. Check Lighting and Visibility

Being seen is as critical as seeing during the dark months of a Nova Scotia winter.

Shine a Light on Your Headlights

Verify that your headlights are clean and properly adjusted. Cloudy lenses can reduce light output, while misalignment can affect visibility.

Working Bulbs in All of Your Lights

Inspect all bulbs for signs of wear and tear. Burnt-out bulbs can result in traffic violations and accidents, especially if they're brake or headlight bulbs.

Don't Let the Ice Cover Your Signals

Keeping your lights clean is also crucial, including your turn signals. Dirt and snow can reduce their effectiveness, leading to confusion for other drivers and a potential hazard on the road.

5. Pay Attention to the Electrical System

A pristine electrical system means a smoother drive, especially in the winter. These winter car maintenance tips might not be possible for you to do at home, so make an appointment and have the team at Race Auto Group take care of your vehicle.

Car Battery Connections

Even a minor corrosion on your battery terminals can affect your car's ability to start. Clean the terminals with a wire brush to ensure a good connection.

Fuse Watch

Faulty fuses can lead to multiple issues in your vehicle. Use your vehicle's manual to locate and replace them if any electrical component is not working.

The Wired Way

Examine all wiring for signs of damage or connectors for looseness. Wiring issues are an inconvenience at best and a safety hazard at worst.

6. Visit a Professional for Winter Car Repairs

Sometimes, the problems we come across can be beyond our DIY expertise. Scheduling regular visits to a professional can save you a lot of time and keep your peace of mind.

Keep Up with Inspections

Routine check-ups can catch problems before they escalate and warrant repairs, so stick to your vehicle's service schedule. This is the best preventative maintenance you can provide.

Trained Professionals at Your Service

The team at Race Auto Group has the experience, tools, and expertise to keep your car in top shape all winter long. Our specialists are passionate about their work and your safety.

Multiple Locations

With 3 locations across Nova Scotia, vehicle maintenance is always within reach at Race Auto Group. Don’t wait until it's too late; drop by and let our experts handle your winter vehicle repairs and maintenance.

Your Winter Driving Partner in Nova Scotia

By following these 6 comprehensive tips, you can ensure that your pre-owned vehicle doesn’t just survive the cold, but thrives through it. Let Race Auto Group be your partner this season to prepare, prevent, and empower yourself. Winter car repairs and maintenance are not just good practice; they're a necessity for everyone on the road this season.

Contact Race Auto Group today and schedule an appointment for your winter car repairs or maintenance!

Frequently Asked Questions

Refer to the section below for the answers to some of the most common questions we receive about winter car repairs and maintenance.

What should I change in my car before winter?

Preparing your car for winter involves switching to winter tires, testing and replacing the battery if needed, installing winter wiper blades, ensuring the correct antifreeze-to-water ratio, and considering a lower viscosity oil for better performance in cold temperatures.

How do I prepare for a long winter drive?

Preparing for a long winter drive requires checking tire pressure, battery life and oil levels and keeping the gas tank half full. Pack an emergency kit, plan your route, check weather forecasts, and inform someone about your travel plans.

Can a car sit over winter?

While it is not advised, a car can sit over winter with proper preparation. Disconnect the battery, fill up the gas tank, consider using a fuel stabilizer, change the oil, and inflate the tires to the correct pressure to prevent potential damage.