Ways To Keep Your Car Winter-Ready
Driving in rain and winter conditions can be intimidating for some drivers. But other than paying extra attention to the road, you can do some things to protect your car in the winter.
More information about car protection and cars in the cold season.Driving in rain is worth it to get to these amazing destinations.
Summer can be tough on cars too, here’s how to protect your car.
Protect your investment by keeping your car sellable.
We go over five points to keep your car winter-ready.
- Paint - protect it from mud and make it easier to clean
- Tyres - avoid hydroplaning
- Windows - they can fog up easily when driving in rain and cold temperatures
- Carpets - wet carpets don’t smell nice
- Cold starts - despite modern technology, it still pays to be gentle
When driving in rain and puddles, dirty water flicks upon cars. The water on roads is contaminated with brake dust, rubber particles, tree sap and other pollution. When the water dries, you’ll find muddy or dusty marks left on cars.
This can damage paint in two common ways.
1 - the debris, dust and pollutants stuck to paint can be acidic and stain paint.
2 - the sandy or abrasive dust can leave swirls or scratch marks on the paint’s clear coat (the surface of the paint).
Fortunately, there is a simple answer; ceramic coatings.
These products add a clear ‘sacrificial’ layer over the surface of car paint. Ceramic coatings will typically last a few months, depending on the application. They have the ability to protect the paint in winter and summer conditions so offer a good solution for drivers.
Applying a ceramic coating is easy but can take a while. Bear in mind that paying a professional can cost hundreds of dollars as it is a labour intensive process.
Ceramic coating application
First, wash and dry the car to avoid and dust getting trapped between the paint clear coat surface and the ceramic coating. Then, panel by panel, simply spray the product on and wipe it off with a clean microfibre cloth. It’s that easy.
Note that if you’re planning on driving in rain soon after applying a ceramic coating, some need up to 24 hours to dry properly.
As an added bonus, cars with a ceramic coating are easier to clean as water beads off them.
All motorists know the importance of decent tyres. They add or subtract from the road noise, handling, comfort and safety - the list goes on.
An issue when driving in rain and large puddles are hydroplaning. This occurs when water builds up between a car’s tyres and the road surface when tyres can’t scatter or displace the water well or fast enough. It typically happens at speeds over 50km/h and feels like the vehicle is sliding along the road - it pretty much is.
The result is a loss of steering and braking ability because the car is ‘floating or skimming’ across the water. This is why hydroplaning is dangerous.
Good quality tyres and driving in rain or through puddles slowly is a good solution.
As annoying as they are dangerous, foggy windows are a common winter occurrence.
It occurs because the water condenses on cold surfaces - just like a cold drink ‘sweats’. If the air is cold outside and your car is warm inside, the moisture in the air will condense on the cold glass - made cold by the outside temperature. This is why the insides of windows feel wet when it happens.
The same can happen in humid conditions. Your car’s A/C cools the air inside so the moisture in the outside air condenses on the outside of your windows. This isn’t as much of a problem, however, as it can dry off easily in the atmosphere and from the wind when you drive.
Fix foggy windows
Most cars have a button that puts maximum air on the windows to defog them but you can take other steps.
First, select the windscreen defogger air direction and turn the heater on the maximum setting. Hot air can hold more moisture.
Then, turn the A/C on. This will pull the moisture from the air as it passes over the cooling system.
Turn off the recirculation so colder, dryer air is brought into the car from outside.
If you’re not driving in rain, open your windows for a few minutes to help exchange the humid interior air for dryer outside air.
If you’re still getting fog, try Rain-X anti-fog or a similar product. These glass and mirror coatings work by quickly dispersing moisture as it sticks to the cold glass.
In winter, it’s hard to avoid getting into a car with wet or muddy shoes. Fortunately, automakers have thought of this so cars come with removable floor mats.
These can get mouldy or make bad smells if they don’t dry properly - common in colder temperatures.
If mud and debris is building up inside your car’s footwells, it may only take a quick vacuum to remedy the problem.
Otherwise, you may need to remove the floor mats and let them dry out overnight. Banging them out is a good idea too as they can get extremely dusty and dirty.
Often, the driver’s side floor mat will have hooks attaching it to the floor. This is so that the floor mat doesn’t bunch up under the pedals which can be dangerous. If your driver’s side floor mat is damaged and can’t be fastened to the floor, it might be worth buying a new one.
Generic floor mats fitted to specific vehicles are available at most auto parts stores.
Modern cars of course don’t have any problems starting on cold mornings but are they ready to be driven straight away?
Engine oil is thicker when it’s cold and therefore more difficult to pump around an engine and properly lubricate moving parts.
Revving a cold engine to warm it up is cringe-worthy to car enthusiasts. This is because sudden high temperatures on cold components can cause trouble if done often.
Keep hard accelerating down to a minimum for the first few minutes when driving on a cold morning.
Engine oil at a glance.
Oil is crucial to car engines. The components and oil pumps in cars are designed for specific oil grades. Just like petrol types, engine oils are suited to different vehicles and conditions. These are usually indicated by a number, for example; 15W-30.
The ‘W’ stands for winter and the number before the W (15 in the above example) indicates the flow or viscosity of the oil when cold - or at winter temperatures. It shows that the auto industry takes cold starts seriously.
The other number (30 in the example above) indicates the flow or viscosity at operating temperature.
The lower the number, the thinner or higher the flow of the oil. For example, 5W-30 is better suited to cold climates than 15W-40.
Too thick, and the oil won’t flow properly, too thin and it won’t lubricate the engine properly. Always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer.
Cars in winter conclusion.
Today’s modern cars have generations of technology and refinement behind them. They’re far safer and more reliable than they used to be.
Nevertheless, respecting and protecting your car is a good idea in anyone’s books. You’ll keep the resale value high too.
If your car is lagging behind new and more advanced vehicles, an upgrade is a good answer. Start by comparing car loan rates to know and find a car that suits your budget. It’s easier than you might think too with Positive’s simple pre-approval process.
The team at Positive puts more drivers behind the wheel faster - and with competitive rates.