Okay, let’s be honest we don’t really have “winter weather” in Santa Barbara. However, our vehicles still should get some TLC during the cold weather season and in preparation for those road trips that we Santa Barbarans love to take up to Big Bear, Mammoth, or Tahoe. What are some of the things we can do to maintain our cars when it’s cold outside? Per the DMV website, here are some tips:
Engine Oil in the WinterThe outside temperature affects the internal temperature of your engine. Make sure to use the proper oil for the conditions. When it’s below freezing, which we have approached a couple of times, switch to thinner oil. “If you run a 10W-30 in the summer, for example, try moving to a 5W-30 when changing your oil in the fall or winter. If you are in doubt, refer to your manual or the manufacturer.”
Engine CoolantThe coolant system keeps the engine from overheating and also protects the engine from corrosion. Per the DMV, use a coolant with ethylene glycol to protect your engine. Refer to your owner’s manual or your service technician to find out the proper ratio of coolant to water.
Cold Weather and Battery CapacityMake sure your batter is in good condition. Cold weather affects the battery’s ability to start easily. Inspect the cables for cracks and breaks, the terminals should fit snugly, and the battery fluid level should be above the bottom of the cap. If it is below, refill it with distilled water. Additional note, check the date of your battery. Especially in the Santa Barbara heat, battery life spans are not as long as they would be in milder climates.
Proper TiresThe DMV recommends snow tires for those living in snowy conditions….ok so that’s not for us here in Santa Barbara. But we do have to deal with the bit of rain that we get which causes slick conditions on the roads. Make sure your tires are in good condition and that they are properly inflated. If you plan on taking a trip up to hit the ski and snowboard slopes, make sure to check the conditions of the roads where you will be driving to and have proper snow chains if required.
Windshield TreatmentAfter a long hot summer, there’s nothing like trying to turn on your windshield wipers to clear rain or fog only to find them crumble apart because they sat unused all summer and had dried out. Check that your windshield wipers are in good condition and that your fluid is the right type for colder weather. The DMV recommends a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution. Just make sure the fluid doesn’t damage your car’s paint.
Emergency KitRegardless of the weather, I recommend having an emergency kit in your vehicle. The DMV’s Emergency Kit list includes: – Flares – Blankets – Boots – Radio – Engine oil – Washer fluid – Coolant – Flashlight – First Aid Kit – Water – Food (protein bars and snacks in case you are stranded for a bit of time) – Emergency charger for your cell phone – Tool Kit – Coat – A spare pair of athletic shoes or boots and socks so that you aren’t stuck at a break down in your slippers or heels – Cleansing hand wipes – Paper towels For the full DMV article, click here Article sourced from Fox5 and dmv.org
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