Heading to the Super Bowl in Atlanta? New Englanders are no stranger to cold weather driving. But if you’re from sunny LA, you may be surprised by the cold as you drive across country. (Those of us not lucky enough to score a ticket will be watching the game on our friend’s big screen.) No matter how you plan on enjoying the game, Openbay wants to help you get there safely. These five tips for winter car care and maintenance can keep your car running smoothly and get you to the game on time.
Don’t Risk Automotive Deflategate! Get Your Tire Pressure Checked
The official rules of the National Football League (NFL) say footballs need to be inflated to a gauge pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi). Like other gases, air contracts as it gets colder. That means there’s less of it in your tires, and footballs, in the winter months. If your tire pressure was set during the hot summer months, the first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure. Low tire pressure can make a vehicle’s handling more unpredictable, especially when dealing with slippery winter conditions. To find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, check the vehicle’s owner’s manual or look for a sticker in the door jam or on the trunk lid. Also, if you see an engine light on your dash that looks like an exclamation point between parentheses, this means your tire pressure is way too low! Optimal tire pressure is an important safety check. If you aren’t certain how to check it, your automotive service center can help.
Hot Team – Cold Car?
Even if your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this season, you will need a safe and warm car to get wherever you are going to watch the game. A vehicle’s heating and defrosting mechanisms are not top-of-mind when it’s warm. But you’ll want them in good working order when that first cold snap or snow blitz moves in. Several things can go wrong with your vehicle’s heater, including problems with the heater core, clogged or broken heating controls, a broken thermostat or water leaks. And, don’t let a freezing car or a frozen windshield blindside you. It’s best to consult a professional. Put your car’s heating and defrosting systems on your winter car care checklist and consult an automotive professional if they’re not working properly.
Low or Dead Battery? You’ll Need More than a Hail Mary
Cold weather is especially hard on car batteries. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 0°F a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength. At 32°F, it loses 35 percent. Starting an engine when it’s really cold can take up to twice as much battery current as needed in warm weather. Before winter creeps in, it’s best to have your auto repair center check your battery to make sure it’s fully-charged and in good condition. Run interference and head off battery issues at the pass.
Avoid Automotive Freeze Play – Check Your Antifreeze for Winter
In football, a freeze play can be a tricky but legal way to throw the other team off track. When it comes to your vehicle, a freeze play is no way to start your day. Antifreeze, also known as coolant, goes in the radiator and keeps the engine running at the right temperature. It’s especially important in the winter because it helps protect parts of the engine from freezing. Check the radiator and antifreeze seasonally. If you’re unsure how, bring your vehicle to a reputable auto repair center.
OIL Blocking is Debatable. Oil Changes are Not.
The “On, Inside, Linebacker” technique is debatable, but changing your oil at appropriate intervals is not. In order for your car to perform well during the winter season, you’ll want to make sure that the oil level isn’t low. Whether you change your oil and filter yourself or make it part of your seasonal automotive maintenance routine, this is a step you won’t want to skip in winter car care.
Team up with Openbay
Openbay can help you find an accredited auto repair service center near you, compare prices, schedule service and more. Establishing a routine of seasonal car care checkups is a great way to ensure the health and longevity of your vehicle for many years and Super Bowl road trips to come.