How to make your car fit for the winter
In order to be prepared even in freezing temperatures and extreme weather conditions, you should prepare your vehicle for the cold season before the first frost. This is usually done in a few simple steps and then saves you from having to wait for the breakdown service or the police in the dark and freezing cold.
The basics for winter operation at a glance:
- Put on winter tires and measure air pressure and tread depth
- Fill frost protection in radiator and windshield wiper system
- Fill winter-proof oil in the prescribed quantity
- Check battery
- Check lighting
Cool frost protection
Despite winter temperatures, the engine requires cooling and therefore special coolant, which must be frost-proof. Even if the last winters were milder - in our latitudes, frost protection of at least -25 degrees Celsius is definitely recommended.
In the evening after you have parked your car, once again operate the windshield wiper system. This eliminates the last sharp-edged scraps of ice and debris that are otherwise frozen the next morning and can cause scratches.
Frost protection in the windshield washer system
Good visibility is especially important in the winter weather. In order to avoid the freezing of pipes and nozzles of the wiper system, simply add frost-proof additive to the wiper water or top up with a winter-ready mixture. After filling, operate the system until the frost-proof mixture has spread over the pump and lines to the nozzles.
The windshield wipers are especially important in the winter because they have to keep the front and rear windows clean quickly and without streaks. Therefore check your wiper blades for cracks in the rubber. As soon as streaks form while wiping, replace the wiper blades. Otherwise, you could be blinded by oncoming vehicles in the dark.
Also make sure that there is enough cooling water in the circuit. If the cooling water level has dropped below the minimum mark, you should visit a workshop to get the the bottom of the cause. That's the only way you can rule out a leak!
Clean windows ensure the right view. Therefore, thoroughly clean the car windows from the inside to prevent them from misting up unnecessarily quickly.
A weak battery is one of the most common causes of winter breakdowns. On the one hand, the power consumption in the winter through heating is much higher, on the other hand the battery must provide sufficient power for the starter even at temperatures below freezing. If the battery is too weak, the necessary starting speed is not reached.
What many do not know - even a good car battery can give up its spirit after four years.
Fold the windshield wipers up overnight so that they do not freeze to the glass. First clear the windows of snow and ice completely before operating the wipers. The fine rubber edge is otherwise damaged quickly.
The right fuel is still crucial today for many diesel vehicles. If the temperatures are well below freezing and the diesel in the tank is still from the autumn, it can happen that the fuel filter becomes clogged. There vehicle can then be restarted only with considerable effort.
Especially in the dark season, a perfectly functioning lighting is particularly important. Therefore, check the lights for their function and have the correct headlight setting checked.
Also, remember the periodically clean the headlights from dirt.
Switch off all unnecessary power consumers when starting the engine. Short-distance drivers should also turn off unnecessary power consumers while travelling in order to provide the battery with more charging current. Also be sure to issue power guzzlers such as heated seats or heated rear windows when you no longer need them.
A minimum tread depth of 1.6 millimeters for tires is prescribed. For winter tires however, experts recommend a depth of at least 4 millimeters. If your tires do not have enough tread or are older than ten years, replace them immediately, otherwise you can quickly lose traction on wintry roads.
To prevent rubber parts from freezing and tearing when opening the doors, simply treat them with a silicone-based conditioner or a greasy care stick.
To ensure a clear view quickly, you should always have your winter accessories at hand. These include an ice scraper and a hand brush. If your vehicle does not have a central radio lock, remember to put a door lock de-icer in your pocket. It is also a good idea to have blankets, gloves and hot tea in your car - especially for longer trips. This helps keep you warm when you're stuck in traffic jams or unable to drive on light ice.