How to care for your car in extreme cold

Winters in Indiana can be relentless.  Extreme temperatures have a way of wreaking havoc on our cars.  But there are things you can do to lessen the effects of Mother Nature this time of year. Here are a few cold weather tips:

  •  Make sure your tires are properly rotated and aligned. Don’t forget about tire tread, as tires should not be worn down to less than 2/32 of an inch for normal tires and 5/32 of an inch for snow tires. If it’s time to make the purchase, you might consider a set of all-season tires with a traction rating of A to handle snowy conditions better.
  • Check your antifreeze. A good rule of thumb is to replace it every two years. If you're not sure when your antifreeze was last changed, it’s a good idea to invest in an antifreeze tester, found at an auto parts store.  Or next time your car’s in the shop for maintenance, ask the mechanic to check the levels.( A good mechanical shop will check your fluids every visit anyway.)
  • Check your records. When was the last time you replaced your car battery? You’ll need to replace it every three to four years, but if you suspect your battery won't survive the season, have a trained technician check it out.  Nothing’s worse than being stranded on the side of the road during a winter storm if it could have been avoided.
  • Wash the underside of your car during and after the winter season. This will remove the salt build-up, which can lead to damage and ultimately corrosion. It’s worth the few extra dollars to upgrade to the better wash. 

As the Boy Scouts say “Be prepared.” Indiana weather may be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for the worst. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit in your trunk.