Protect Your Car from the Cold

Protect Your Car from the Cold Courtesy of

Once again old man winter is here in full force.  Here in the northeast the high temperature is in the 30s on good days, but then again that’s not happening too often these days.  In Long Island and New England they dealt with 2+ feet of snow.

I’m not here to report on the weather though; I’m here to review some basics for protecting your car from the cold.  Some things we’ve discussed in the past and some things are new to the site.  Protecting your car from the cold is so important that it’s worth discussing year after year.

Check the Tire Pressure

Check the Tire Pressure Courtesy of

It just can’t be said enough.  Tire pressure varies directly with temperature.  This follows Gay-Lussac’s law, whereas if temperature goes up, so does pressure.  Conversely if temperature goes down, so does pressure.  Therefore when it gets really cold outside, your tire pressure goes down.  You have to check the tire pressure and fill your tires when necessary.

For those of you with tire pressure monitoring simply follow what the car is telling you.  If that orange light comes on, don’t ignore it.  Figure out which tire is low and fill it.

check the Tire Tread

Check the Tire Tread Courtesy of

Just as important as your tire pressure, your tire tread is the difference between tracking the road and slipping, sliding and getting into an accident.  Tread is everything to you staying safe, therefore you need to check it periodically.  Make sure you have a minimum of 3/32” tread depth, but practically speaking you should have at least 5/32” of tread depth.  Use the penny head technique – if you can see Lincoln’s whole head, you don’t have enough tread to keep you safe.

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At a minimum you should have all-season tires mounted on your vehicle during cold months.  Summer tires harden up during winter months making them less effective in all weather conditions, even when it’s perfectly dry out.  All-season tires and snow tires are composed with rubbers that are better suited for cold months.

Wash Your Car

Wash Your Car Courtesy of

When it gets cold outside we don’t think about keeping the outside of our cars clean.  Roads are dirty from snow, ice and salt.  With the snow storms we’re having lately it’s just too hard to keep up with keeping it clean, therefore we just forget about it until around April.

This is exactly the wrong thing to do.  We’re keeping cars on the road longer now because they are mechanically sounder than ever before.  The one thing that isn’t much improved is corrosion resistance.  Our cars are still made from mostly steel, and therefore the road salts are still detrimental to the bodies of our automobiles.

Next time it snows schedule yourself for a car wash.  Make sure that you get the undercarriage wash along with it because this is the most important add on during the winter.  This ensures that dried on salt will be washed away.  If you can’t get to the car wash take out the hose and rinse off the car, including the undercarriage.


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