How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Cold Winter Temperatures

Winter brings cold temperatures. Your car doesn’t like cold temperatures. However, unless you want to walk everywhere in the winter, you’re going to need to use your vehicle.

Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to prepare your vehicle for the frigid winter months. Ram Products wants to show you how easy it is to prepare your vehicle for any weather conditions with a few simple tips:

Maintain your battery

Car batteries perform poorly in cold weather. At 5 degrees Fahrenheit, car batteries are only able to output half their rated amp-hour capacity. To make matters worse, car engines require more power to start during cold weather. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why your car won’t start during cold weather.

There are several ways to avoid this problem and protect your vehicle’s battery during winter:

-Plug in your car’s electric engine block heater overnight or two to four hours before starting your vehicle. This is particularly important for older vehicle makes and models.

-Use battery terminal protectors to prevent corrosion buildup and prolong battery life

-Clean your battery posts and terminals using a battery post & clamp cleaner

-Clean your battery regularly using an aerosol can of battery cleaning solution, which neutralizes the acid on battery terminals, wipes away grease, and prolongs battery life

-Apply dielectric grease to spark plug boots, distributor caps, battery terminals, headlamp connectors, bulb sockets, and all other types of electrical connectors. Dielectric grease resists moisture and prevents corrosion. It’s also certified for temperatures between -40F and 400F.

Maintaining a vehicle’s battery is relatively straightforward, but if you don’t feel confident cleaning that area of your vehicle, you can always talk to a mechanic.

Maintain your belts and hoses

Most drivers know how cold weather affects a vehicle’s battery. However, many drivers don’t consider how cold weather affects their engine’s belts and hoses.

Cold weather weakens the critical belts and hoses of your engine. Before driving, check your belts and hoses for any signs of wear and tear. If a belt snaps while driving, your vehicle isn’t going anywhere.

Ram Products carries a number of different replacement hoses for all different types of vehicles, including:

Fuel line hoses

Heater hoses

Vacuum line hoses for windshield wiper and vacuum tubing

Let your vehicle warm up before driving

If you have a remote car starter, then winter is a great time to use it. Let your car warm up for several minutes before you start to drive. Cold temperatures thicken your car’s oil.

Thick oil clogs up your engine and can cause major vehicle problems. When your engine can’t get the lubrication it needs, you won’t be able to start your vehicle. When you let your vehicle warm up before driving, you’re thinning the oil before it passes through your engine.

Change your oil

Warming up your vehicle during the winter is always a good idea, but it also helps to use the right type of oil. Different oils have different viscosity levels. For colder climates, thinner oil is better. Your vehicle owner’s manual generally has information on the proper viscosity levels for different climates.

Monitor tire pressure

No matter what kind of tires you’re using, it’s important to check your tire pressure. Tire pressure drops as the temperature gets colder. For every 10 degree F drop in temperature, your tire’s air pressure will drop about 1psi. Check your vehicle’s owner manual for the recommended tire pressure ratings.

Stock your car with emergency supplies

Even if you follow all of the tips listed above, you could get stranded on the roads this winter. Mountain passes can close due to avalanches or a collision might shut down roads overnight. Suddenly, you’re trapped in your car with no choice but to wait.

For that reason, it’s very important to stock your car with emergency supplies. Your emergency kit should include:

-Blankets

-Food

-Water bottles

-Flashlight

Booster cables/Jumper cables

-First aid kit

-Tow straps

Replacement vehicle bulbs

-Fully charged cell phone (even deactivated cell phones can call 911)

Driving in winter conditions can be dangerous. However, it’s an unavoidable part of life for drivers across the country. By following the tips listed above, you can ensure your vehicle stays safe on the roads this winter.

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