How to Winterize Your Florida Car
You may mistakenly think that because we live in Florida and mostly avoid the cold weather our northern neighbors suffer through, you can skip doing any winter maintenance on your vehicle. However, preventative maintenance will help your car face any cold weather the season brings safely and efficiently. Plus, you will be road-ready if your favorite relatives in Michigan call with an invitation to visit. Follow these simple and easy steps to treat your car well so that it will return the favor.
Check and Replace
Most winter car maintenance involves checking existing components and making sure they operate well. If they do not, planning allows you to replace them as needed before winter arrives.
In addition to checking wiper fluid levels to ensure there is enough freeze-resistant liquid, you should also check and replace your wipers and blades as needed. If your wipers leave streaks on your window when you use them, they should be changed. Florida winters often bring cold rains, so seeing clearly from your windshield is essential for driver and passenger safety.
Getting your car ready for winter weather starts from the inside. Have your belts, wires, cables, spark plugs, and hoses inspected by a professional mechanic to ensure they are not wearing out. If they give out on you during this season, it could cause your car to breakdown and you to be left out in the cold. Belts and hoses are made of rubber and consequently become less elastic during cold weather. Belts should not have cracks, or fraying, while hoses should not have bulges.
Even though it is unnecessary to switch to winter tires here in Florida, it is still wise to check them. Tires should be adequately filled, free of cracks or gouges, and the tread should be at a minimum of 2/32 inches. Going too long on bald tires not only leads to poor fuel economy, but it increases your risk of dangerous blowouts and accidents in rainy, cold weather.
Heating and Cooling
Test your car’s heat and defrosting function before you actually need them to make sure it runs correctly. Have your antifreeze checked and verify that you have the proper coolant-to-water ratio to help protect your engine from freezing or corrosion. Typically, this ratio will be 50/50, but your mechanic knows the appropriate formula.
You may not know it, but your battery capacity is reduced by cold weather because your car requires more battery power to start in the winter. Ensure your battery is ready by checking the battery cables for cracks or breaks and the terminals for any loose connections. Clean any buildup on battery cables with a brush. Read your fluid level charge, and check the battery fluid. If you know your battery is older than 3 to 5 years, replace it before the worst of our winter weather arrives.
In addition to battery and windshield wiper fluid, the following should be checked and replenished as part of your winter maintenance plan.
- Power Steering
Another critical component of winter maintenance is to ensure your exterior lights are functional, including your headlights, brake lights, backup lights, signals, and hazards. This should not just be a winter task, but it is imperative as the sun sets earlier this season. For your safety and visibility, your car needs sufficiently bright, working lights.
City Auto Repair Is Here for You All Year
Whatever season your car faces, City Auto Repair is your one-stop shop to help it run its best. From tune-ups to brakes and tires, and any other service your vehicle needs, our knowledgeable mechanics and team know how to accurately diagnose and repair the issues that keep your car from operating as it should. Contact us today to schedule a maintenance appointment with your friends at City Auto.