Prepare Your Car – Winter is Right Around the Corner!
A good auto insurance policy can protect your car from almost anything; but this winter, California residents may be surprised by unusual weather patterns in the wake of El Niño. The country’s leading climate experts expect a cooler winter as we advance from 2015 into 2016, and with an increase in precipitation, your car may be going through its roughest winter yet.
Beware of Salt and Embrace the Hand Wash
Automated car washes are convenient, but opting for a hand wash will allow you to fight back against one of your car’s greatest enemies: salt. Salt can cause your vehicle to rust and break down at an accelerated pace, and if your area has icy roads, the city will likely salt them. If you get your car hand washed, you can likely request an undercarriage wash to blast away excess salt, but you can also clean the undercarriage of your car on your own at self-service car washes and at home.
Low Temperatures can Crack, Weaken, and Damage
If you’re interested in keeping your car’s exterior in tip-top shape through a rough winter, it’s always a good idea to keep it waxed. Treating your vehicle’s exterior rubber and vinyl can prevent the cold weather from cracking and otherwise damaging these fragile components. Even the interior of your car can be damaged by low temperatures, especially if your vehicle features leather upholstery.
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Worn Tires Must Be Replaced
If you’re confident that your tires can perform well on slick surfaces, a little additional care can go a long way to preventing unneeded wear. Generous application of a high-quality tire dressing can keep your tires in great condition against harsh winter temperatures. Conversely, if your tires are beginning to show their age, replacing them before winter weather hits is essential. The same applies to windshield wipers and fluids – replacements and refills are better done now than later.
And don’t forget that cold mornings are an aging battery’s worst nightmare. If your vehicle is older than 5 years, check your battery and seek a recharge or replacement immediately if the charge is low. Be sure that all terminals are free of rust and debris, and consider investing in a battery conditioner, especially if your car will be in storage for the winter.
But Most Importantly…
Don’t forget to change your oil and filter before cold weather starts in. This is the single most important step you can take in preventing damage to your engine due to cold weather. Check with your manufacturer for information of when to perform oil changes, and don’t make the mistake of waiting too long.
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