Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Carwash Association. The opinions and text are all mine.

Oddly enough we’re having a brown Christmas here in Minnesota this year. I’m not complaining one bit because that means it’s been warm; I mean warm enough that this Minnesotan hasn’t been wearing her jacket outside! Alas, I know that winter is coming and as much as I’d like to pretend that I live in the South that just isn’t true. There are certain measures that need to be taken to ensure that our vehicles last as long as they possibly can. That’s right, we’ve put off getting our car winter ready long enough. Here are five tips to help you get your vehicle ready for winter from WaterSavers! [Tweet “That’s right, we’ve put off getting our car winter ready long enough. Here are five tips to help you get your vehicle ready for winter from WaterSavers!”]

1. Switch your engine’s oil: Oil lubricates the engine so it can function properly, but not all automobile oil is the same. If you live in a cold climate, consider switching to a thinner, less viscous oil. For example, a 10W-30 might be ideal for hot summer weather, but a thicker 5W-30 is better for when temperatures dip below freezing. Ask your auto mechanic what is recommended and refer to the manufacturer’s manual for more insight.

2. Maintain a car wash routine: It may seem surprising because the last thing your car is going to be during the winter is clean but trips to the car wash during the wintertime is far more important than it is during the summer. Due to the presence of ice, salt and sand on the roads, washing your vehicle in the winter is even more important than the summer. Getting a car wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature begins to drop can be your first line of defense against winter elements. Vehicular corrosion occurs most quickly when the temperature rises and falls below freezing. The International Carwash Association recommends finding a car wash that is part of the WaterSavers® program. There are more than 1,500 environmentally friendly car washes worldwide enrolled in the program that meet water quality and usage standards.  These car washes use 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car. Find a participating car wash near you by visiting www.washwithwatersavers.com.

3. Check the battery: The cold is really hard on your car’s battery. Before you get stranded, give your battery a once-over to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Check the cables, terminals and fluid and look for anything abnormal. Some battery retailers will conduct a complementary car battery assessment if you’d prefer an expert analysis.

Two important things to do to get your car ready for the winter.

4. Update engine coolant: Just because it’s chilly doesn’t mean your engine can’t overheat. To protect your engine against corrosion and to help ensure it doesn’t overheat, ask your car technician to change to a coolant with ethylene glycol which has antifreeze properties. While replacing coolants, ask the technician to make sure all fluids are topped off, including window washer solution.

5. Get a grip on tire safety: If you live in an area where winter means driving in snow and ice, it’s critical to check your tires to keep you and your passengers safe. Each tire should have an adequate amount of tread to properly grip the road. You can easily see if new tires are needed with the penny test — hold a penny head down in the center tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, you have less than 2/32-inch tread and it’s time for new tires.  Also be sure to your tires are properly inflated to ensure optimum handling, safety, and fuel efficiency.

Safety is also important during the winter. Whenever my family travels to visit my parents we bring along extra blankets and other necessities in case of an emergency. It’s terrible to think about, maybe even a little morbid, but the last thing I want is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere without the proper items to keep us safe until help arrives. That’s why I’m so happy that WaterSavers is giving away a prize pack to one First Time Mom for a duffle bag for you to place your emergency gear into, a handy key fob that has a whistle, compass, and flashlight, as well as a $30 Visa gift card! I don’t know about you but I’m going to use my $30 Visa gift card to purchase some necessities for my emergency duffle bag kit!

Giveaway WaterSavers for Duffle Bag, Key Fob and Visa Gift Card

All you need to do is to fill out the handy Giveaway Tools form and that’s it! Best of luck and safe travels this winter!

Taking the time to properly winterize your car not only ensures the comfort and safety of you and your family but also helps you maintain the value of your car for many winters to come.

For more information visit www.washwithwatersavers.com

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Carwash Association. The opinions and text are all mine.

Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.