Look After Your Assets – Care for Your Car in the Cold
Look after your assets – care for your car in the cold
How safe are you in your car in the cold weather?
While Spring is just around the corner, we’re not out of the frozen woods yet. Cold weather prevails over much of the country and there are still frosts and conditions that make driving treacherous.
We want you to be safe and to get to where you’re going safely.
We also want to help you protect your assets and to keep your car safely on the road as long as you need it to. And so we bring you a few suggestions to keep you traveling safely.
Vehicles need special treatment in Winter
Issues that may plague your vehicle in winter can go unnoticed in the warmer months. They’re so easy to overlook until you’re stuck on the side of the road in icy conditions. The first of these are:
Out of condition Serpentine and Fan Belts
Most engines use belts to drive a number of systems such as the water pump and the alternator. These belts are generally made of rubber because it’s flexible and durable. The trouble is that in cold temperatures rubber is known to crack, and if a belt snaps your car engine could be in serious trouble. Care for your car by keeping an eye on your belts and have them checked before the cold really sets in. If they have existing cracks, however small, replace them.
However, in cold temps rubber can crack, causing serious trouble for your engine – when a belt snaps everything stops working, from the alternator to the power steering pump. Have your belts checked in the late summer for existing cracks, before the cold weather makes matters worse.
How old is your car’s battery?
If it’s older than 5 years you should replace it. At -17C a batter is 35% weaker (thankfully our New Zealand temperatures don’t drop that low!). A fully charged new battery can survive well in the cold, but an older battery that doesn’t hold its charge as well can freeze at -1 C. In addition, when the water in a battery freezes over its expansion can cause damage to the battery cells that is irreparable.
Check your Antifreeze
This seems obvious yet many of us forget – check the levels of antifreeze as it is absolutely critical for the management of your engine in cold temperatures. The combination of antifreeze and water in your car prevents the water from freezing in winter, which otherwise could cause a crack in your engine – a very costly issue to repair.
Are Your Tyres Pumped?
Being made of rubber, your tyres contract in cold weather. This impacts the oxygen exchange of porous rubber that normally occurs, and can cause your tyres to under inflate. Just a 12 degrees drop in temperature can cause a 10 percent reduction in tyre pressure. Care for your car’s tyre pressure by checking frequently in the winter, and pay attention if the tyre pressure dashboard warning light activates.
Frost on your driveway?
Sliding on frost or losing traction on black frost can be really scary, and is certainly dangerous. While many roads are covered with grit by the council, this still leaves your driveway as a potential hazard area. A simple but clever solution is to sprinkle kitty litter. It’s affordable, and it’s designed to absorb liquids. Sprinkle some behind your back tyres (or in front, depending on your direction) to give them traction from their stationary position. Remember to store the kitty litter in your boot so you have it with you when you need it.
Hope this helps you care for your car and yourself on the roads this winter.
And remember, if you’re looking to replace your car, or to buy a new or second hand one then get in touch. We offer car loans at extremely competitive rates, and the repayment schedule is structured around what is manageable for you. Contact us today or apply online.