5 Tips for Winter Car Maintenance

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?If you're a longtime resident of Parma, Ohio, you know how severe the winters can be, with plenty of snow, ice and cold temperatures. Winter weather can be tough on vehicles, but there are some things you can do to make this season easier on your Ford car, truck or SUV. Check out our tips below for effective car maintenance in the winter.

1. Swap Your All-Season Tires for Winter Tires

There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to winter tires: people who swear by them and people who think they can get by just fine without them.

The truth is, winter tires can make a huge difference in your vehicle's traction and overall safety, especially when combined with existing Ford all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive technology on your SUV or truck.

What makes winter tires so much better for cold weather driving? Consider these facts:

  • The rubber compounds used in winter tires are much softer than normal tires, so they stiffen up in cold temperatures and provide extra grip on snowy, icy roads.

  • Tread patterns on winter tires are specially designed to divert snow, ice and slush away from your vehicle, also helping to improve traction.

After a tire service, your new set of winter tires should ideally be mounted on a separate set of rims — this can help ensure their longevity over multiple seasons and make it so you're not mounting and remounting tires to the same rims, as this can shorten the lifespan of both tire sets.

2. Keep an Eye on Battery Voltage

Fully charged automotive batteries have a voltage of 12.6 volts when they're not running. When the engine is running, your battery's voltage should be between 13.7 – 14.7 volts. At Bob Gillingham Ford, we can check your battery's voltage to be sure it still has plenty of power, or you can do it yourself at home with a multimeter.

Another critical spec to automotive batteries is cold cranking amps, or CCA. This is a unit used to define a battery's ability to turn an engine over in cold temperatures. Your battery's CCAs refers to the amount of amps a 12-volt battery can provide at 0 degrees F for 30 seconds. This is an important rating to pay attention to when shopping for a new battery because it's much harder for your engine to turn over in cold temperatures.

For a conventional battery, it's important to check its fluid level. If it's low, you can fill it with distilled water. If your battery is maintenance-free, check the viewfinder at the top to make sure it's still in a fully charged state.

3. Replace Windshield Wipers

An often-overlooked piece of equipment on your vehicle is its windshield wipers. These should be replaced every six months to a year, or as soon as you notice a difference in visibility. Keeping your windshield clear is especially important in the winter, as it and the wipers themselves can easily build up with snow and ice.

4. Schedule an Oil Change

In cold weather, motor oil thickens, and so in many vehicles, it's important to be sure you have an appropriate winter-weight oil for your car's engine. Your owner's manual should indicate the type of oil your Ford needs, and if you regularly schedule an oil change at Bob Gillingham, we can help make sure your engine oil is appropriate for winter driving.

5. Check Tire Pressure Frequently

Once a week, make it a habit to check your new Ford vehicle's tire pressure. With every 10-degree drop in temperature, your tires generally lose a pound of pressure, so it's important to keep them topped off with enough air.

For all your winter car maintenance needs, visit our Ford dealership in Parma, Ohio, at 8383 Brookpark Road. We look forward to helping you make sure your winter driving experience is a safe one.

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