Northeast Ohio Winter Car Care Tips

It is winter once again in northeast Ohio and vehicles will be put to the test with frigid temperatures. Cold weather does impact engines in all types of vehicles, and there are some precautions that vehicle owners can take to better protect their vehicles during the winter months. Below you will find some tips, provided by Weber Automotive of North Olmsted, to keep your vehicle running its best in cold temperatures.

Prior to winter, it is a good idea to have your vehicle inspected by a professional ASE Certified automotive technician. Weber Automotive performs safety inspections on all types of vehicles to identify any existing problems or potential issues that should be taken care of before the snow starts coming down. Tires, automotive fluids and other maintenance issues are examined during a safety inspection along with other critical areas such as the condition of the battery. Addressing mechanical problems before they become severe can often save vehicle owners from being stranded in an inoperable vehicle during cold temperatures and possibly a towing bill.

When cars and trucks are parked outside during the cold weather, there are a variety of components and fluids that are impacted. For example, cold temperatures do directly impact the viscosity of oil and it becomes thick. It is always a good idea to allow an engine to warm up for a minimum of thirty to sixty seconds. This allows the engine oil time to come to temperature and return to its normal viscosity so that it may lubricate the internal engine parts as intended.

Warming up a vehicle during winter also allows coolant and transmission fluid to normalize. As an engine comes to full operating temperature, the heat inside the engine compartment will also help to raise the temperature of the brake fluid contained in the master cylinder and other components under the hood.

Rubber hoses and belts become brittle when they are cold and warming up an engine can help to reduce the possibility of a catastrophic failure occurring. In today’s engines, where one belt drives many accessories and controls the camshaft timing, a serpentine belt failure often results in the need to have the vehicle towed to the repair shop.  Warming up an engine allows belts to come to operating temperature at idle RPM, which is far less stressful then starting a cold car and driving down the road.

Wiper blades should be inspected and replaced, when needed, to maintain proper driver visibility at all seasons.  Because of this, Weber Automotive recommends replacing your wiper blades twice per year.  To keep the wiper blades in good condition, during winter, it is wise to lift the wiper blade arms to a vertical position when the vehicle is parked. When the wiper blades are raised vertically, snow and ice will not accumulate around them. Since the wiper blades are raised, the windshield may be easily dusted off with a snow brush or ice removed with a scraper.  It is important that the windshield be clear of ice because the rubber on wiper blades will become damaged if they glide over such obstructions.

Roadways in northeast Ohio are treated with rock salt, which often leaves a residue on the windshield that reduces visibility while driving. It is a good idea to check your windshield washer fluid level often so that fluid is readily available when you need it.

As we all know, the climate in northeast Ohio can quickly change. Whether it is lake effect snow coming off of Lake Erie or an Alberta clipper, it is our hope that the tips on this page will help to keep your car or truck running properly and family safe on Ohio’s roadways during winter. If you have any concerns about your vehicle, or wish to have a safety inspection performed, please call us at 440-734-1413 to schedule an appointment.

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