This is a sponsored post, I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own.
Winter can be a tough time of year on our cars, especially here in the Midwest. I headed to Sears Auto Center again last week to learn about what we can do to take care of our cars in the winter and what to watch out for.
Car batteries are affected by temperature, usage, driving utilities like lights and computer power, as well as comfort and luxury items like seat warmers and navigation systems. The extreme cold temperatures in the winter can make it harder for the current to flow from the battery into the car. Just like batteries that we use in things around the house, car batteries eventually need to be replaced. A car battery gets worn out from the up and down from when you start the car and when it is recharged by the alternator. Be sure to periodically check the battery terminals for corrosion and tightness. If there is not good contact from the terminals it can cause a no crank condition or can cause electrical problems in the computer system (which opens up a whole other can of worms). Here in the Midwest the average life of a car battery is 38 months. When you are looking for a new battery the only indication on how long it should last is the replacement period stated on the battery. If there is a pro-rated period after the free replacement period that is more just a “coupon” of sorts to get you to stick with the same brand. There will be several batteries that fit your car and you will notice a good, better, best rating of sorts. The best batteries will cost more but will also offer the longest life. They are also the heaviest because the lead in them, which is what makes batteries so heavy, is the least recycled in the best batteries. It is really recommended to get the best battery you can afford for your car.
With all of the gunk on the roads from snow, sleet, rain, salt, brine, and such in the winter, our windshield wiper blades take a beating. Wipers should be replaced at least every six months on your car. 90% of our driving decisions are made based solely on visual information so we need to be able to see out the windshield. Just like batteries, there are good, better, and best windshield wipers available as well. Wipers also have different features which work better on some cars than others. For winter consider wipers that have a protective blade cover to help protect from snow and ice. If you have chattering, skipping, streaking, spotting, or smearing happening when using your wipers it is time to change them. Most people can manage this task on their own, but you can have it done at places like Sears Auto Center also if you prefer. To help protect your windshield, products like Rain X can be applied which helps precipitation not “stick” to the glass. Washer fluid is also an important part of keeping your windshield clean. Do not use water in your fluid tank, especially in the winter as it can easily freeze. This means not diluting washer fluid with water either. Instead use windshield washer fluid which has special chemicals to keep it from freezing and it also contains cleaners to help your wipers do a better job.
The cold weather definitely impacts your tire pressure. We learned how important tire pressure was on my first visit to Sears Auto Center. Whenever we have an extreme cold temperature snap the pressure in your tires will fall. If you have tire pressure sensors you will most likely notice a warning come up about this. I had this happen the day after my visit to Sears Auto Center actually. If you can, check your tire pressure at home before driving your car to get the most accurate reading. Then fill the tires to the correct pressure which is usually found on the sticker in the door jamb of your car. If the extreme cold weather continues you will continue to have this problem. It is not your sensor going bad, it is just really doing its job.
Frozen Gas Lines
This can be a problem in extremely cold situations but is not as common as it was in the past due to the additives in gasoline these days. Products like Heet can be added to your gas tank to help prevent the gas lines from freezing though if need be. Keeping your gas tank filled to at least 3/4 of a tank will also minimize moisture build up in the tank which is what causes the freezing.
Winter Car Helpers
There are other items you can get to help take care of your car in the winter. Get a can of de-icer to keep on hand for the winter time. This can be used if you have a layer of ice on your windshield (do not ever use hot water to thaw a windshield) and also to thaw frozen door locks. Using a good set of floor mats to help protect the carpet of your car from salt, water, and grime. Be sure not to stack mats or towels as this is a safety problem. A long handled ice and snow scraper should be kept in the car to clean off winter precipitation. Consider getting a car safety kit to keep in the trunk that has jumper cables, flares, thermal blanket, and other items in case you do have car troubles. You can find these items at your local Sears Auto Center.
A huge thanks to Adam, and the rest of the staff, who have been teaching me about all of these vehicle issues on my visits to the Sears Auto Center at Midrivers Mall in St. Peters, Missouri. It has been interesting to learn so much about the cars and maintenance issues and, as a woman, quite empowering as well.
Sears has also provided me with a gift card to giveaway. You can use this at your local Sears Auto Center or Sears store on whatever you need! You can learn more about Rules of the Road Warrior by following the hashtag #SACRoadWarriors, follow @SearsAuto on Twitter, like the Sears Auto Facebook page, and even follow Sears Auto on Instagram.
The Giveaway: $50 Sears Gift Card
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