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How to Keep Your Car in Top Condition This Winter

Winter is a tough time for a multitude of reasons. Not the least of them being car care. Here are a few important tips to help you make sure your ride stays in peak condition during these frigid months.

Understand What Care Your Car Needs

There are four main causes of auto body damage: weather, negligence, fender benders, and high-speed collisions. Keeping an eye out for each one of them as you navigate the winter is your best bet for avoiding any serious damage to your vehicle, yourself, and other drivers out on the roads. If you drive an older car, negligence could be a potential killer. In any case, it’s always a good idea to stay on top of your routine repairs and maintenance. If your car is new, winter weather (especially ice and salt on the roads) will be your biggest enemy. Understand your car before you start thinking you know how to take care of everything! Getting the right maintenance done in a timely manner can make all the difference between a safe driving experience and one that creates danger for everyone involved.

Perform Routine Engine Work and Other Checkups

Each and every car engine is different. Again, much of the strength and longevity of your engine has to do with various factors, such as how old the car itself is. For example, a semi engine is designed to go 1 million miles before an overhaul or rebuild. Your five-year-old sedan’s engine is not. Keeping these key differences in mind as you seek the right engine work will help you get a more accurate picture of what’s needed to maintain a safe, operational engine.

Batteries can also be a source of much worry during the colder months. If your battery is not able to hold a complete charge, then you may be susceptible to getting stranded on particularly frigid days. For this reason, you should always check the battery before embarking on any major winter road trips.

Other routine checkups include checking to make sure your coolant isn’t leaking. Your coolant is vital to the overall operation of your vehicle, especially when it’s using lots of heat to keep you warm as you drive. Always be sure that you’re well aware of when your coolant needs to be refilled. Of course, you should also keep up on regular oil changes and check your oil occasionally to make sure that everything is still working as it should be.

If you’re not well-versed in car maintenance, be sure to bring your vehicle to a trusted maintenance and repair garage regularly. Tools have come a long way since the bow lathe and bow drill, the first machine tools ever recorded in existence. Your local garage will have all of the materials and know-how to properly care for your car.

Drive within Your Car’s Limits

When the 300 SL was first introduced in 1954, it immediately became the world’s fastest production car at 146 miles per hour. Even if your car can go as fast as some of the world’s fastest sports cars, that doesn’t mean you should take it there. In the winter, inclement weather conditions such as snow, ice, and slippery roads make it even more important to practice safe, defensive driving. After all, driving safely is just as much a part of car care as rotating your tires.

As most people are not aware, fender benders are one of the top causes of car damage. And if you live in a state like South Carolina where there are 62% more fatal car accidents than the national average, it’s important to be even more aware of your surroundings.  Icy roads and low visibility make the possibility of a fender bender even more likely in places that see frigid winters. When you’re driving in the winter you should be careful to ensure that you are always mindful of what other drivers are doing around you. Minimize distractions as you drive, and maintain a total focus on getting to where you need to be safely.

Clear Snow Off Your Car Completely

It’s never a good idea to do a mediocre job clearing the snow and ice off of your car. In fact, in some states, it’s even illegal. In these states, a police officer passing by could pull you over for a poorly-brushed car. Even if you can see out of your front and back windshields, snow on the roof of your car can be dangerous for other drivers. Invest in a strong windshield scraper and snow brush to ensure you get each and every piece of snow and ice off of your car before driving.

Remember that even one piece of ice can slide forward onto your windshield from your car roof. Additionally, snow can blow up into your windshield from your car hood. If you can’t see, you’re not safe. And neither is your car or the other drivers on the road beside you.!

Invest in Regular Car Washes

If you live in a place that gets a lot of ice on the roads, then you’re likely aware of the damaging effects that salt can have on the body of your vehicle. To prevent damage and rust, it’s a good idea to keep up on a regular car wash schedule. A few minutes every couple of weeks in the car wash can help your car perform better, prevent rust, and make your ride look great even in the coldest months of the year.

Reduce Stress and Don’t Drive When You’re Upset

Stress is a killer for many different reasons, and its detrimental impact can be seen out on the roads, too. For this reason, it’s wise to do everything you can to reduce the amount of negative stress in your life. Taking regular vacations and making time for the things you enjoy is a great way to reduce stress. Did you know that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees take, their year-end performance ratings improve by almost 8%? It’s the little things that matter. Little bits of vacation throughout the year can help your job performance and make you a more relaxed, balanced driver.

It comes as no surprise that drivers who are experiencing some sort of heightened emotional state are more likely to make major mistakes while driving. It’s a good idea to avoid driving if you are angry, sad, or overly anxious. These emotional states can quickly lead to disastrous consequences, especially when you add in the extra danger associated with inclement weather and wintry conditions on the roads. If you can, make sure you’re in the right mood before you get behind the wheel.

Driving in the winter can be a challenge, but when you follow these simple tips you can be confident that your car will be in the best condition throughout the cold season. Good luck and stay safe out there!

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