5 tips to keep your car in peak
condition during frigid winter weather
Don’t let cold temperatures wreak havoc on your car
Keep the battery in good shape
Your vehicle’s battery is especially hard hit when the mercury plummets. Cold temperatures reduce its cranking power. In fact, at about 0° F, a battery has only about half the cranking power it has at 80° F. You can have the battery professionally tested at Alberta European Motorworks. If it’s defective or just worn out, it’s best to replace it before it goes completely dead. Worst case, be sure you know how to jump-start a car.
Replace wiper blades
You have to replace wiper blades more often than you might think. Our tests have found that even the best-performing wiper blades start to lose their effectiveness in as little as six months. Streaks or missed expanses of glass are sure signs that the blades are ready for retirement. We recommend replacing wiper blades as often as twice per year. Most wiper blades for most European vehicles are available at Alberta European Motor works.
Clear the windows
If you can’t see out the windows, you’re a danger to yourself and everyone around. Don’t try to use the wipers and those brand-new wiper blades to remove ice from the windshield. Instead, use an ice scraper on frosty mornings. If you park outside, place the wipers in the raised position when it’s going to snow overnight to keep them from freezing to the windshield. With dirt, mud, and salt residue being kicked up off the road, it’s likely that you’ll be using your windshield washers a lot, so keep your windshield-washer reservoir filled with a winter-blend washer solution that contains an antifreeze agent. Also make sure the heater is functioning properly and that plenty of warm air is being directed to the windshield when it’s in the defrost mode. Finally, check that all the vehicle’s lights are working properly, so that you’ll have optimum visibility at night and motorists front and rear will be able to see you.
Check the oil & coolant
Cold weather can beat up your engine, too. Motor oil thickens when cold, making it harder for the engine to turn over. Typical formulas that are recommended for modern engines include 5W-20, 5W-30, and 5w40, which provide good oil flow at low temperatures and can often be used year-round. Whenever you have the oil changed, replace the oil filter as well to ensure the system has the maximum amount of flow. Try to keep your coolant mixture in a 50/50 ratio of antifreeze and water. Use the proper coolant for the proper vehicle. Alberta European Motor works stock coolant for most if not all European vehicles
Consider new tires
Spinning out in the snow and ending up in a ditch isn’t the best way to discover your tires are worn out. So if you’ve been waiting to pick up a new set of tires, don’t delay as your safety depends on tire traction and winter-grade tires tend to be in short supply when the snow begins to fall. If your area gets occasional snow, a new set of all-season tires should do the job. Look for a highly rated set that has performed well in our snow-traction and ice-braking tests. Ask us for recommendations. If you live where snow and ice are ever-present, consider buying dedicated winter tires mounted on wheels. These have tread patterns and rubber compounds specially designed to grip snow and ice for optimum traction on slick roads. Winter tires typically have shorter tread life and generate more road noise than the all-season tires that your vehicle came with. But the extra safety they provide is generally worth the compromise.
Finally, keep a roadside emergency kit in the car.