Sub-freezing temperatures and unruly weather conditions can cause serious damage to your car and put you in danger while out on the road. Before the winter season begins and throughout its duration – move your regular car maintenance into high gear with the addition of these cold weather car care tips!
Keep Your Vehicle Dry and Clean
Winter can be extremely tough on our cars’ interiors, thanks to all of the snow, dirt, mud, and grime that we track inside our vehicles. It’s important to protect your car from snow during the winter months to avoid damage to the interior and upholstery.
If you get caught in snow or rain, the dampness from your clothes is easily transferred onto the upholstery in your vehicle. This becomes especially problematic if you have fabric upholstery because it can absorb the dampness leading to mildew and odors if not dried out and cleaned properly. To avoid needing professional auto upholstery repair services, look into buying seat protectors that can be easily removed and cleaned when needed.
The best kind of floor mat is one that is rubber, flexible, and thick. A floor mat will contain the mess you track into your car, prevent it from ruining your carpets, and make for a quick and easy cleanup. If you do buy mats – don’t just think about yourself. Make sure you have one for all of the floorboards in your car if you plan on driving around any guests.
Keep an Extra Pair of Shoes Handy
If you don’t want to buy floor mats, you can always keep an extra pair of shoes in your car to change into. Don’t forget a bag to throw your dirty shoes in so they aren’t rolling around your car!
If the seats or carpets in your car do become wet, remove everything you can (i.e., floor mats, carpets, seat protectors) and hang them up to dry before they start to spoil and smell. If you park your car safely in a garage, you might want to leave the windows open overnight to help the car air out. Once everything has dried, make sure you vacuum out all of the dirt and grime. If you smell a musty odor after your car is dried and cleaned, get an odor neutralizer to help combat the smell.
Touch Up Scratches to Avoid Rust
While not very well known, one of the best winter car tips is finally touching up the scratches on your car that you have been avoiding. Rust doesn’t adhere well to touch-up paint, so get those scratches covered and make sure to keep touch-up paint handy in case any other scratches magically appear throughout winter. If you don’t feel comfortable applying the touch-up paint yourself, you can always go to a local detailer or auto shop to take care of it for you.
WAX. YOUR. CAR.
If you love your car, or even remotely like it, make sure it is thoroughly waxed before the cold weather hits. Winter weather can dull your car’s paint and leave it vulnerable to rust. You can watch a YouTube video and learn how to do it yourself; just make sure it gets done! Make sure to focus on the lower parts of your car that come into the most contact with snow and salt on the road. Front grilles, panels, and behind the wheels are where snow and salt hit the hardest and stay the longest.
Check Your Headlights
Visibility can become impaired at night in the best weather; imagine how bad it can get when you throw in some snow, fog, and hail. Keep your headlights clear and clean, and if they need to be replaced, make sure you do this long before you need to drive in the dark. This isn’t just a winter car tip, but a tip you should practice in every season. You should always make sure the different lights on your car are working, for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
Antifreeze to the Rescue
One of the most important tips for cold weather car care is antifreeze. Antifreeze is a critical additive to engine coolant that prevents your car’s cooling system from freezing up in the winter.
Winter tires, also known as snow tires, are specifically designed to be driven in winter conditions. Winter tires have extra slits and larger gaps cut into the treads to give you more traction and stability when driving in winter weather. Some people choose to use winter tires all year round, but others opt to switch them out once winter ends to make them last longer.
If You Have a Garage, Use It
Parking your car in a garage helps to protect it from the harsh elements of winter. But you need to make sure your garage is equipped for cold weather car care. For example, make sure your garage has proper ventilation to avoid a warm and humid environment. If you park your car in a humid garage after it has been covered with ice and salt, that combination will accelerate oxidation leading to a higher likelihood of rust on car parts like the exhaust system and radiator.
Use a Protective Car Cover
If your car is sitting outside for a period of time during the winter, you should invest in a cover to protect it from the elements. Even if it is parked inside a garage at home, think of using a cover when you venture out. A cover designed to protect your car from snow will keep ice off of your windshield and protect your car’s paint from excess moisture.
Avoid Ice Scrapers
And by avoid, we mean to stay far away from! Ice scrapers can easily scratch your windows or risk damaging other parts of your car because of their metal components and sharp blades. Instead of using an ice scraper, opt for snow brooms or pretreatment spray. Snow brooms have rubber or foam edges, so they are less likely to cause damage. You can also purchase a pretreatment spray from an auto part store or research an at-home solution. Place the solution on a rag or in a spray bottle, and watch the ice melt away. WARNING: Do not use hot water. It can crack your glass.
Drive Your Car
This might sound like a silly suggestion, but it’s pretty important. More people are working from home now, and many might not even leave their house if the weather is horrible (hello grocery delivery!) When you don’t drive your car, the battery can run out, fluids go bad, and tires can lose pressure. Make sure you drive your car at least once a week, and don’t forget to remove any phone chargers, dash cams, or cords you might have plugged into your car. Even when your car is not running, they still use energy!
Keep Your Gas Tank at Least ½ Full
The emptier your gas tank is, the more likely your gas lines are to freeze when the temperature drops. It is not because gas can freeze, but because the excess room in your tank means more room for condensation (water), and that is what can freeze.
Place an Emergency Kit in Your Trunk
Even if you followed all of the tips for cold weather car care, winter can still be unpredictable. Make sure you have an emergency kit packed in your car before you get stuck on the side of the road in bad weather. Items to include in your winter emergency kit: first aid kit, bottles of water, granola bars, a blanket, gloves, shovel, flashlight, road flares, and jumper cables.
Keep Your Business Auto Insurance
You might be tempted to cancel your business auto insurance because you and your employees are working from home more. But trying to save a few dollars this way could be a very costly mistake. Driving is often a big part of a small business or independent worker’s role. That makes keeping that car, truck, or van insured vital.
Personal car insurance was not intended for businesses, so that coverage may not properly cover certain losses and damages when the vehicle was in use for business purposes. Without the correct coverage, your business might be hit with big bills to pay.
What is a way to protect your business and its vehicles? Take out a Woligo business auto insurance policy. The Woligo team is ready to answer all of your questions about business auto insurance, and to help you find the right policy for your business.
Just Because Your Car Is Parked Doesn’t Mean It’s Protected
Your car is at risk of damage even if it is parked. It’s a good idea to keep comprehensive coverage to protect against theft, hit and runs, vandalism, and other physical damage. What if a snowstorm sent a tree toppling on your car, or even on the garage it’s kept in? Saving a few dollars in the short-term could lead to bigger out-of-pocket expenses.
You Could Be Breaking the Law
If you decide to cancel your business auto insurance, you could be breaking the law without even realizing it. If you or one of your employees park their company car on the street, you could be required by law to have liability coverage.
You also have to consider the likelihood of needing to drive your car. It’s easy to ‘say’ you will leave your car parked for the winter to protect your car from snow, but what if there is a work emergency? What if you need to drive to client meetings, drive to serve a client’s home, or drive a rental car while on a business trip?
Whenever you drive, you are legally required to have third party liability insurance. If you get pulled over, or worse, get into a car accident, a ticket from the police and the out-of-pocket expenses from damage could far exceed the cost of car insurance multiple times over. Accidents can become expensive, especially if the driver at fault is you or your employee.
You Might Face Higher Insurance Premiums in the Future
Before you decide to cancel your insurance, call your provider and talk to them about your options. There could be fees for canceling your car insurance midterm, or you might risk facing higher insurance premiums when you go to re-enroll. Insurance history interruptions can leave a ‘ding’ on your account, and insurance companies might offer higher rates if you frequently cancel mid-term or have inconsistent insurance history.
Follow These Steps and Talk to the Experts
Following these steps can’t prevent all of the woes that accompany winter, but these winter car tips can help mitigate potential dangers. Your preventive actions, combined with good insurance, can leave you with peace of mind.
Learn more about different types of insurance solutions to help keep you, your family, and your business protected here.