Protecting Your Car From Winter: 6 Tips

11:09 AM, Nov 12, 2019

Montana winters can be tough on your car. As the weather transitions from bad to worse, the prudent thing to do now is take the necessary precautions to ensure it is protected.

Here are 6 vehicle winterizing tips to consider:

1. Check the engine coolant and antifreeze levels.

Antifreeze keeps your engine from freezing. There is a reason this tip is listed first. It’s THAT critical to the health of your car during harsh winter months. Allowing levels to get too low can spell disaster for your radiator.

2. Use the correct windshield wiper fluid.

“Make sure that you’ve got adequate windshield washer fluid and that it’s at the right temperature so that when you do want to use your windshield wipers with the wash that it doesn’t immediately freeze on the windshield,” advises Pam Hansen Alfred, a State Farm agent in Great Falls.

Ordinary fluid used in the spring, summer and fall months often doesn’t work well in the winter, because it freezes quickly upon contact with the windshield. The lower temperatures call for winter fluid which won’t freeze on the windshield, and will help loosen ice and snow from the glass, making it easier to keep clear.

3. Check your oil.

Move to a winter-grade oil.

“In Montana, you want to make sure that, when you get your oil changed, it’s the appropriate oil for the outdoor temperatures,” Hansen Alfred says.

The colder the weather, the thinner the oil should be. The viscosity of oil in colder weather is indicated by the first number in the oil specification, with a lower number indicating better viscosity in cold weather. For example, a 5W-30 oil is better in the winter than a 10W-30 oil.

4. Protect your windshield.

Use a winter windshield cover to keep snow and ice from your glass and avoid the need for scraping.

Other ways to cut through the ice include installing heated wiper blades, or adding windshield washer heaters that mist hot fluid onto the windshield.

5. Cover your car.

Car covers specifically made to protect the exterior against snow are an excellent option provided they’re water-resistant and don’t trap in moisture. A custom-fit car cover is the best way to ensure this.

6. Check your tires.

Access pressure and tread depth. Use a simple gauge found at any auto supply store to check your tire pressure. If your tires need air, fill them up at the gas station.

Make sure your tires have appropriate amounts of tread on them. Use the “Lincoln test” — insert a penny into your tire’s tread with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing inward toward the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you should replace the tire.

Get snow chains for traction — to help stop the siding through streets — or install snow-specific tires.

Pam Hansen Alfred’s office at 2817 10th Avenue South in Great Falls provides auto, home, business, property, life and health insurance. The Great Falls native has been a State Farm agent since 1986, and has a team ready discuss your coverage needs at 406-453-6010 or 800-823-3620.

Contact Us
2817 10th Ave S
Great Falls, MT

Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5:30pm

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