Great advice about staying safe on the roads during the winter from our friends at Firestone Complete Auto Care in Martin City!
1. Check The Engine Oil
The oil in your engine changes depending on how hot or cold the engine is running. Because the outside temperatures will influence the internal temperature of your engine, it’s important to make sure you’re using the proper oil for the conditions. During the winter months, it’s a good idea to switch over to a thinner oil. If you run a 10W-30 in the summer, for example, try moving to a 5W-30 when changing your oil in the fall or winter. Remember, clean oil promotes a faster start and less strain on the battery during the winter weather so it’s a good idea to have an oil/filter change.
SHAMELESS PLUG: Firestone basic oil change services start at just $19.99 throughout the holidays!
2. Cold Weather Battery Capacity
Car batteries last anywhere from three to five years, so it’s best to keep track of how old yours is. Winter months are tough on your engine and cause it to work harder, which puts more pressure on the battery. If your battery isn’t that old, it’s still good to take a look and make sure nothing’s wrong. Check the battery cables and clamps for fraying or corrosion. If there’s a white, powdery substance around the clamps, that’s corrosion from battery acid and you can clean it off easily with baking soda, water, and a toothbrush. Your battery is also filled with fluid, so make sure it has enough inside. Most batteries have caps on top, and you can check the level by removing the caps. If it’s low, fill the holes with distilled water, being careful not to fill past the bottom of the cap.
3. Check Your Tires!
Let’s talk tires! When it comes to winter weather, your tires are the ones who often feel the pain most. Driving in snow can sometimes be dangerous but having the right tires on your car or truck can give you a huge advantage. Winter tire tread thickness of your current tires needs to be more than 5/32″ thick on most types of vehicles for sufficient snow traction. Many car makers and tire manufacturers recommend changing all four tires to snow tires in the winter. You can even buy snow tires with studs if you live in a rural neighborhood that is often snow packed. You’ll need to lose the heavy winter tires when Spring rolls around though because your fuel efficiency and handling will improve with a less aggressive tire.
Another option is all-season tires you can use year-round. The advantage of all-season tires is that you don’t change the tires before winter or need to keep two sets of rims. Of course, the disadvantage is that you don’t get all the great benefits of a specialized snow tire! And don’t ever forget about your spare tire! It’s also important to make sure your spare is in good shape and can function in place of a regular tire in the event of an emergency.
As a reminder, keeping the right amount of air pressure in your tires can prevent a spin out under slippery conditions. Use the correct air pressure for your car as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Most cars have this info on the driver’s side door panel.
SHAMELESS PLUG: Firestone will inspect your tires for free! Firestone has been performing free comprehensive tire inspections for our customers for over a hundred years.
*Always Monitor your tire pressure during winter months
Winter temperatures can cause changes in tire pressure and those changes can hurt your fuel efficiency. Take care of your engine—and your gas budget—by checking your tire pressure often and inflating as necessary.
4. Carry An Emergency Kit
If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car, please put one together just in case you slide off the road and get stuck in a snow bank! Here are some things that should go into a good emergency kit:
- Battery operated radio
- Engine oil
- Hand Sanitizer (melts ice on frozen car door handles)
- Jumper cables
- Trashbags (can become a coat to keep heat in if necessary)
- Windshield Washer fluid
SAVE FUEL by combining errands
In cold weather, your vehicle’s engine can take longer to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature. Make life easier on it by combining trips to avoid making your engine heat up multiple times a day. Run errands on the way to or from work, or on the way to pick up the kids. Your engine won’t cool completely between stops, meaning it won’t use as much fuel to heat back up.
Park in a warm place
If you have a garage, use it! Parking your vehicle inside rather than out in the driveway can help you conserve fuel. Your engine will stay slightly warmer in the garage than it would if you park outside in the elements. There are two major benefits to this: it will reduce the time needed for your engine to warm to a fuel-efficient temperature, and it will save you from needing to use a defrosting feature in your vehicle that can lead to getting fewer miles per gallon
Taking the time to winterize your car can prevent a world of problems so please make time to stop by and see your friends at Firestone in Martin City! You can get a Winter Car Care Check-up Package, which includes testing your vehicles’ battery, checking fluids, testing the antifreeze and inspecting the tires and brakes, plus steering and suspension systems. Firestone is open 7 days a week in Martin City.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
Firestone Auto Complete Care
13620 Washington St.,
Kansas City, MO. 64145
Monday thru Saturday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Sundays, 9:00 to 5:00