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Prepare Your Car For The Winter

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  • Prepare Your Car For The Winter

    It’s a cold winter morning and you’ve just about managed to drag yourself out of bed. You take a warm shower and get ready for work. You go in your garage and rub your hands against each other and quickly get in your car to avoid the biting cold. You insert the key and start the engine but all it does is emit a rough noise for a few seconds and then die on you. You try again but the same thing happens. You get frustrated and start cursing your car which makes you feel bad. Why? Because you love your car and treat like family. If you’ve gone through a similar instance now, a few weeks before winter starts, these simple tips will help you make sure your car is in good health and will serve your needs without breaking down all through the next couple of months.
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    Is your engine working fine?

    Before winter sets in, make sure to take the car to a mechanic or your service centre to flush and refill the cooling system to prevent possible overheating issues. Check the engine coolants level, condition and concentration. Also, make sure to check the anti-freeze level. If it is lesser than the prescribed level, add more. Ask the mechanic to check for the condition and tightness of the drive belts, clamps and hoses too.

    When was your car last serviced?

    Check the owner’s manual provided by the manufacturer and check the when the car is scheduled for its next service. Call up the service centre, fix an appointment and get your car services ASAP.
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    Do you need to change your car’s battery?

    Maintaining your car battery’s health is of utmost importance during the winter. The chances of your car’s battery losing charge is much higher during the winter. Sometimes, the battery might even take longer time than usual to get recharged. Take your car to a mechanic and get the battery load tested. If the battery doesn’t last long, replace it with a new one. If you are using an older battery, make sure to clean and refill the battery cells regularly.
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    Does the engine take very long to heat?

    When you get into your car and crank it up, the temperature gauge on the instrument cluster might be stuck at ‘C’ which stands for ‘Cold’. Many people mistake this for a cold engine. The truth is that this gauge tells you your engine oil temperature. When the oil is cold, no matter how hard you try to accelerate, your car struggles to pull forward. You will notice that there is resistance from the engine. Car owners think that leaving the engine on idle for some time helps. While this may or may not be true, the best way to save up on time and fuel is to drive slow for the initial few kilometres and let the engine oil warm up.
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    Are all the lights working?

    Most cities in the north witness heavy fog during winters. It is important to make sure that your head lights and tail lights are in working condition. Check the intensity of the illumination. If they are not sufficient, get brighter lamps. Also, check for the headlamps alignment and scratches on the surface. The latter can make the headlamp function improperly. Do not use a dry rag for cleaning the headlamps. Use car wax instead.
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    Does your windshield fog up?

    Mist on windshield reduces visibility. If they become misty regularly during the winter, turn on your car’s AC and make sure it’s heater blast is directed at the windshield. Misting is caused by water vapour condensing on the windscreen. Directing the AC blast to the windshield will dry out the air and remove the moisture. Try to find an ideal AC setting with a temperature and humidity that you are comfortable with. Also, replace your windshield wiper blades if they are worn out or if they chatter across the glass. Keep a couple of old newspapers in the car in case you need to wipe the windshield clean.
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    Follow these tips to make sure you don’t damage your car in the winter months and also keep you safe without any discomfort.

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  • #2
    It is crucial to let the engine warm up a bit during cold winter mornings. Cold oil is viscous and does not flow the way it should. As such, it is unable to reach the tiny crevices inside the engine and does not provide proper lubrication and protection. Ditto for gear and differnetial oils. Ideally, the car should be allowed to idle till the temperature gauge needle registers some movement. After that, it should be driven slowly for a couple of kilometers so that the other oils also reach their operating temperature. This is a best practice to ensure all mechanicals stay healthy for years.

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    • #3
      Shreyans Well said Shreyans. But there's a fly in the ointment The newer cars don't have a temperature guage- they just have a digital guage that doesn't show a progressive change in temp, or worse still, nothing at all. So it's a little difficult to judge that. As a practice however, I do follow what you mention, with a slight change- since the road down my house is downhill, I coast down the road in 3rd gear at idling rpm [~30kmph] This gives the engine enough time to warm up before it's spun harder. If I'm anywhere else, I let the car idle while I get the seat belt on, turn on the music and get ready to drive.

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      • #4
        Kaiserketkar Neither of my Hondas have a temperature gauge. But what they do have is a small blue light indicating a cold engine. So I idle the engine in the morning till that light goes off. That takes around 2 minutes, so it is basically the same thing

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        • #5
          [QUOTE_NODE]"Originally posted by Shreyans" Neither of my Hondas have a temperature gauge. But what they do have is a small blue light indicating a cold engine. So I idle the engine in the morning till that light goes off. That takes around 2 minutes, so it is basically the same thing [/QUOTE_NODE] Oh yes. I just noticed that. Very weird for modern cars not to have a temperature gauge don't you think?

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          • #6
            Hello, Friends
            Now winters have begun and one starts facing car cold start because of snow/cold slows the chemical reaction in the car's battery, reducing its power output.
            So I'd like to know what are you doing in this situation or facing problem.

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            • #7
              Shuklakartik, I guess the only way to ensure your car's battery doesn't suffer during the cold is to load test the battery. If it doesn't hold up, I guess it is best to replace the battery.

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