"Cars function differently in cold weather," says Tom Olszewski, automotive technical advisor, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties. "In the winter months, all sorts of vehicle ailments crop up. It is important to keep your car properly tuned and change your engine oil and fluids regularly, and checking your tire pressure will help you to avoid costly repairs and vehicle breakdowns in the cold of winter."
Vehicle maintenance is extremely important during the winter months. In addition to performing routine maintenance, using quality products and making precautionary efforts will help drivers through even the nastiest of conditions.
• Vehicle warm-up-To ensure proper engine oil flow and lubrication, allow your engine to idle for a few seconds before driving in cold weather, and drive slowly for the first few miles until the oil is fully warmed up. This reduces emissions and saves fuel.
• Tune-ups-Get a full engine tune-up according to your owner's manual.
• Check the battery-If a battery is older than four years, it may only work well in warm weather.
• Check filters, coolants and hoses-Make sure all filters-oil, gas and air-are in good condition. Check the coolant and thermostat to ensure proper engine warm-up, as well as the heater and defroster operation. Coolant should be changed every two years; however, extended-life coolants used in many newer vehicles last about five years. Check for leaking or soft hoses and replace.
• Switch to synthetic oil-To ease engine start-up during cold weather, switching to a multi-viscosity oil such as Mobil 1 10W-30 or Mobil 1 5W-30 will help your car operate more efficiently, making it easier for your car to start in extremely cold temperatures.
• Fix the brakes-Don't postpone needed brake work during winter months. Avoiding brake repair can be extremely dangerous, and it will cost more to overhaul the entire brake system.
• Tire pressure-Check tires for excessive wear and proper inflation. Do not underinflate or overinflate tires. Low pressure increases wear and fuel consumption while too much pressure can reduce traction, especially in icy conditions. As the weather gets cooler, your air pressure decreases. Check tires and inflate to the proper pressure.
• Icy windows and locks-Make sure to have window ice scrapers and de-icers available. Also make sure your windshield wipers and front and rear defrosters are working properly. A de-icer for door locks is also useful, but a heated key can help when locks are frozen.
• Personal protection-Don't forget personal protection such as a warm coat, hat and gloves, blanket and cell phone in case you are stuck in a storm.
• Slow down-Do not exceed speed limits and keep safe driving distances. Unnecessary speedups, slowdowns and stops can decrease fuel economy by up to two miles per gallon. Avoid gas-wasting jackrabbit starts and pace your driving to help avoid the need for sudden stops, which is especially critical during wet and icy road conditions.
"Your car will be a more dependable means of transportation throughout the winter if properly cared for," says Olszewski. "If you take care of it, it will more likely take care of you. And it will do it for a lot less money."
For more information on vehicle maintenance, please visit www.mobil1.com.
It's fair to say that in foul weather, cars function differently. That's why maintenance is so important in cold weather.