Tips for winter ready wheels
New Zealand isn’t known for its below freezing temperatures. But in some areas, particularly down south, frequent frosts, shorter sun hours and the odd dump of snow can turn your car’s wear and tear into an accident waiting to happen.
To get your car in great shape for winter, we’ve pulled together a few tips.
Your battery provides the zap to keep your car moving. Treating it with proper care will extend its lifespan.
Batteries get drastically more worn in colder temperatures as you put extra strain on them when you need to pump up the heat, use the headlights more during shorter winter days and power up the windscreen wipers to fight rain and road grime.
Make sure you turn off your lights as you exit your car and limit short rides which prevent the battery from charging fully. Don’t use electronics like the radio or heater when the car is idling as it causes wear and tear.
If possible, store your car in a garage. Keeping the battery warm will make your car a lot easier to start and put less stress on the battery.
On average, batteries may need replacing after three years. Make sure you replace them with a battery that has a cold cranking amp (CCA) rating that matches your manufacturer’s rating.
As the days get shorter, it’s also essential to check your blinkers are in working order – back, front and sides.
Protect your wipers and windscreen
Whether you’re at home, the office or around town, if you park outdoors, leave the wipers in the raised position to prevent them from freezing to the windshield. Never use your wiper blades to remove ice, snow or frost from the windshield – or hot water for that matter. Use the rigid side of an ice scraper instead.
Wash your car regularly
While it might seem counterproductive during winter, washing your car is even more important at this time of year. Snow and moisture can cause rust – under the paint, under the car and wherever there is bare metal. Once you’ve got it – well, you know the old saying. Rust never sleeps. It will rot out the car body, the exhaust, brake lines and even the frame.
A protective coat of polymer wax on the car body can create a barrier against road salt, grime, snow, sleet and more. Couple that with a high-pressure car wash after a big rainfall to rinse away build-up in hard-to-reach areas such as wheels, wells and the underbody.
Tank a quarter full
For those who live in a winter wonderland, keeping your tank quarter-full will avoid any unexpected stops. Though it seems a little glass half-empty, it may be harder for emergency services to find you in winter weather and cold can turn to freezing fast.
If you’re planning on longer road trips, think ahead and work out your stops for petrol and the all-important snacks before you hit the out-of-reception mountain ranges.
The colder the temperature, the more often you’ll need to check your tyres as they lose pressure with every drop in temperature. Driving on underinflated tyres increases fuel consumption and can cause them to wear down prematurely so you lose traction on icy or slippery surfaces. In extreme cases an under-inflated tyre can overheat and delaminate.
Looking to upgrade to safer wheels this winter? Chat to your local car dealer about your vehicle lending options or head to our website for more information.
Safe travels this winter, from the team at Heartland.
Heartland Bank’s lending criteria, terms and conditions apply.