Handy tips to prepare and maintain your car for Indian winters

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Handy tips to prepare and maintain your car for Indian winters

22 December 2016
Misty windshields, slow pick-up, frigid cabins; driving in winters is not easy. However, you can avoid these troubles if you effectively prepare your car well in advance to brave the extremities of Indian winters.

It’s a cold winter morning and you are running late for office. Rubbing your hands against each other, you quickly get inside your car to avoid being out there in cold for too long. You insert the key and start the engine. After making a rough sound for a few seconds, the engine dies. You try to rev it up again and the same thing happens. Twice, thrice, ten times, you keep trying to make it come to life but the engine refuses to budge.

Are such nightmares already haunting you even though there are still weeks before winter starts? Fret not, these simple tips will make sure that your winters go smoothly as far as driving is concerned.

Does your car’s engine take very long to heat?

Most commonly, when you get into your car on a cold winter’s morning, you will notice that the temperature gauge on your car’s dashboard is stuck at “C” for “Cold”. This doesn’t mean your engine is cold, it means your engine oil is. No matter how much you try and accelerate normally, you will feel resistance from the engine. Contrary to what some car owners believe, putting the engine on and leaving it idle doesn’t help as much as driving it. All you need to make sure is that for the first few kilometres, you don’t drive too fast.

When your car was last serviced?

Pick up the manual provided by the manufacturer and check when your car is scheduled to be serviced next. Fix an appointment and get your car serviced as soon as possible.

Related: How to maximise the resale value of your used car [Infographic]

Does your battery need to be changed?

Maintaining your car’s battery before winter is important because its ability to accept charge drops due to the cold and it doesn’t recharge as quickly. Therefore, get your battery load tested by a mechanic. If you are sure the battery won’t last for long, replace it with a new one. Clean and refill your battery cells regularly if you continue with the same battery.

Are all your car lights working?

If your city sees heavy fog during winters, make sure that your head lights and tail lights are not only in working condition but are also illuminating well. Check their alignment and remove burned out bulbs, if any.
Tip: Use car wax to clean lights instead of a dry rag to avoid scratches on the lights.

Is your windshield always fogged up?

To combat fog and avoid car accidents, it is important to keep your car wipers in good shape so they can clean the windshield properly. Replace them with new wiper blades, if needed. Also, make sure they do not chatter across the glass. If the wipers aren’t effective, inspect your defroster to see if it is working well.

If the wipers and a rag don’t work, turn on your car’s AC, making sure it’s heater blast is directed at the windscreen. Misting is caused by water vapour condensing on the screen – the AC will dry out the air, removing any moisture. If the mist is from inside the car, start the heater off cold, then slowly increase the temperature so the air dries out. This will avoid overloading of the cabin with hot, ‘wet’ air. Try to find a temperature and humidity that’s comfortable but doesn’t mist up the cabin.

Related: All you need to know about car accidents

Do you have a hard time fighting ice build-up on the wind shield?

If you live somewhere where temperatures usually drops below zero, then add some anti-freeze liquid to your windshield washer fluid. You may also need rubber clad winter blades. Also examine the spray nozzles for blockages. If you find any, remove using a pin.

Is your engine working fine?

Flush and refill the cooling system of your car to prevent possible overheating. Check the level, condition, and concentration of the engine coolant regularly, as well as anti-freeze levels. Add more or change if necessary to make sure no harm comes to your car’s engine. Be careful not to remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled down completely. Get the condition and tightness of drive belts, clamps, and hoses checked by a mechanic. Check if there is any leak.

Related: Do you need the Engine Coverage Rider? Here are the 7 major car insurance riders

Does your city freeze over?

Add a bottle of oil de-icer into the fuel tank. It will prevent moisture from freezing in the fuel line. More importantly, keep the petrol tank filled to avoid moisture formation in the first place. If your region often witnesses heavy snowfall, then consider getting your regular tyres replaced with snow tyres to maintain proper drivability and control when driving on snow.

We know you love your car a lot, and would definitely would hate to see it suffer at the hands of a season! So before winter comes this year, just follow these tips and save your car from damage and you and your loved ones from any kind of discomfort.


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