Most car owners know that certain things must be done to protect their vehicle from the onset of cold weather. You’ve probably thought about testing your car’s battery, lubricating the doors and windows and changing your tires. But many people forget that the cold weather can be especially hard on the engine. If you are hoping to get your car in prime condition before the cold weather sets in, put some time and energy into the heartbeat of your car – the engine.
See to any engine issues earlier rather than later
If you have noticed any funny engine-related issues, it’s worth having them seen to before winter kicks in. Cold weather can make these issues even worse, and you may end up with a broken down engine and an unnecessarily large bill.
So, what engine issues should you look out for? Typical symptoms of a faulty engine include sputtering, revving and poor mileage. All of these are signs that your engine isn’t functioning properly.
If your engine is sputtering on a full tank of gas, you probably have faulty fuel injectors in the fuel injection system. If the injector is blocked or broken, your engine will not receive the right amount for fuel for successful combustion. Check out the amazing Goldfarb Inc if you’re in need of replacement parts: https://goldfarbinc.com/collections/fuel-injection-pump-new-used-rebuilt
By paying attention to these warning signs, you’ll save yourself lots of hassle down the road. When you ignore these signals during the summer, your car might keep functioning for weeks or months on end. In winter, you might not be so lucky.
Take your car in for servicing
Even if you aren’t experiencing odd noises from the engine, there may be underlying issues that could become exacerbated in cold weather. A professional mechanic can perform all of the necessary checks to your engine to ensure it’s in excellent condition. Remember, any existing issues will quickly worsen in extreme conditions.
Check the coolant levels
Coolant, or antifreeze, is a substance that absorbs the engine’s heat. It is typically made of a 50/50 combination of propylene glycol and water. Most professionals recommend checking and servicing the coolant prior to the winter months.
While coolant primary function to cool the engine, it also helps to keep the engine from freezing. It’s also a key element in your car’s radiator system, which you definitely don’t want breaking down in the dead of winter.
While it’s possible to check your coolant levels at home, we recommend having them checked by a professional, who will be able to determine whether the ratio in the mixture is also correct. They will also be able to tell you whether the whole system needs servicing.
Servicing consists of flushing the system and replacing the coolant mixture entirely. This process protects the system from rust, leaks and general wear.
Change your oil and oil filter
Most professionals recommend an oil change every 3,000 miles or so. Oil is an important part of the engine system, as it reduces friction. It’s fairly simple to check oil levels at home. You’ll need to use the oil dipstick, which should have markings indicating optimal oil levels.
For the winter months, it’s worth considering switching to a winter weight oil of 5-W30, to prevent engine wear and tear.
The oil filter is also a crucial part of the system. When it becomes dirty or clogged, it affects the engine’s performance. Manufacturers recommend changing the filter every two or three oil changes. Check with your mechanic to make sure the filter is changed next time you change the oil.
In cold temperatures, oil will be thicker, so it will have a harder time getting through the filter. If the filter is already clogged, you risk running an engine with little to no lubrication.
Keep some fuel with you in the car
You never know what can happen on the road, especially when the conditions are bad. If you’re planning a long trip, keep some extra fuel with you in the car in case of emergencies. You may find yourself idling on the freeway in a traffic jam, so having some
back-up fuel just in case means you will avoid an unexpectedly empty tank.
Store the car in a garage
If you have the option to store the car indoors over the winter, you should take it. Engines can become damaged by sitting out in the cold all day and night. Keeping your car in a garage will help to prevent moisture getting into the exhaust pipe or fuel tank.
If your car sits outside in the cold overnight, the engine will inevitably become very cold. If you have access to a heated garage, you will protect the engine oil, along with the battery.
Invest in an engine preheater
If you live in a particularly cold area, it may be worth investing in an engine preheater. This device targets and heats the coolant, which in turn heats the engine before you start it up. This means you won’t have to start the engine with thick fuel and oil.
While an engine preheater helps you start a car, it will also help you to protect various systems in the car from damage. Starting a car with a cold engine can mean a lack of lubrication, which in turn, can cause irrevocable damage to an engine.
Cars require frequent check-ups to ensure their internal parts are fully functional. Because cold temperatures take a toll on all parts of the car, particularly the engine, it’s essential to take your car in for servicing before the weather starts to turn.
If you follow these seven steps, you’re much less likely to experience roadside breakdowns, difficulty starting your engine, or expensive engine servicing further down the line.
If you are unsure about any of the tips listed in this article, don’t hesitate to ask your auto mechanic for advice. When getting your car serviced before the peak of winter, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.