With the change of seasons from fall to winter, you need to make changes to your wardrobe to adapt to lower temperatures and different conditions underfoot when you leave your home. You also need to make preparations for the change of season for your car as well. Taking time to put Mercedes service in Chicago on your list of things to do before winter really sets in is something that you need to take care of so that you will enjoy hassle-free driving all season.
Cold Weather Takes a Toll on a Car
When the mercury plunges, your car will have a more difficult time operating. It gets harder to start and the outside temperature has an effect on your tire pressure, which, in turn, affects wear patterns on your tires. Road salt and dirt tend to build up on your car, and these can lead to problems you don't encounter during other driving seasons.
Mercedes Winterizing Tips
When you are looking to winterize your car, you'll want to make sure that the services you have performed fit in with the change of season. Here are some suggestions for you to consider.
1. Make Sure Lights are Working Properly
It's important that you can see and be seen during snowstorms, when snow is blowing and during other conditions when visibility may be poor. Check all the lights on your car to make sure they are working properly and replace any bulbs or make any other necessary repairs.
2. Lubricate the Locks
If water gets into your door or trunk locks and then freezes, you end up locked out of your car. Use a door-lock lubricant to prevent this situation. If your locks freeze in winter, a lock antifreeze will that them so that you can gain entry to your car.
3. Change your All-weather Tires for Winter Tires
If you are going to be driving in wet snow or icy conditions, replace your all-weather tires with a set of winter tires. This types is made with rubber compounds that have been developed to provide better performance in slippery conditions. Winter tires also have special tread patterns that will give you superior traction in winter driving conditions.
Since winter tires have greater demand placed on them, they generally don't last as long as all-weather tires. They do tend to provide a higher level of safety, and it's worth the investment to keep you and your family safe during the winter.
Do look at your options for having your tires mounted on less expensive steel wheels. Taking this step will make it easier to switch between your set of all-weather and winter tires. It will also save your alloy wheels from the damage that winter weather will inflict on them.
Taking care of this early in the season will give you more time to shop to replace Mercedes tires in Chicago. Waiting until winter weather hits in earnest could mean less selection, since other car owners will have already bought tires for their vehicle.
4. Have the Oil Changed
Motor oil is important to keep the elements of your car's engine lubricated to minimize friction. As the temperature drops during colder months, the consistency of the motor oil changes and becomes thicker. It's more difficult for the engine to turn over at that point.
Your owners' manual will specify the right type of oil for your car. Take it into a dealer or a Mercedes-approved garage for a Mercedes Benz oil change. Ask the technician what type of motor oil you should be using during the winter to provide the maximum level of protection.
If the place where you live experiences extremely low temperatures, you can protect the oil in your car by installing a block heater. This will help to keep the car warm overnight and prevent the oil from thickening.
4. Check Radiators and Hoses in your Cooling System
Rubber parts in your vehicle are usually quite pliable, but cold weather can make them become more fragile. As the temperature falls, this material can become brittle, leading to failure.
Check the radiator and heat hoses by popping the hood when the engine is cold and checking them for leaks and cracks. Grab onto the radiator heat hoses and give them a gentle squeeze. They should feel firm but pliable. If they feel soft or brittle to the touch, they should be replaced.
Most cars need to have the cooling system flushed, at minimum, every couple of years. The owner's manual will spell out the specific time between flushings. Keeping to this schedule will help to keep corrosion from building up in the system. If you are almost due to have this type of maintenance performed on your car, make an appointment to have it done before the cold weather starts.
Your technician will refill your cooling system will a solution of antifreeze and water. This is usually diluted half-and-half. You can buy it off the shelf full-strength and dilute it at home yourself or get it pre-mixed and just add it to your car without mixing. Read the label so that you know how to use the product and keep the coolant from freezing in winter. The owner's manual will tell you what water-to-antifreeze ratio is recommended as temperatures fall (you may need to use 60/40 or 70/30 at that point).
5. Make Sure the Battery is Ready for the Cold
Once the temperature reaches zero degrees, has about half its normal cranking power compared to a time the outside temperature is 80 degrees. The last thing you want during the winter is to have the battery lose power and be stuck in the cold having get a boost from a fellow car owner or wait for -roadside service to arrive. When the temperature drops, your battery's ability to power your vehicle drops as well.
If you plan to have the oil changed before winter, have your technician check your battery as well to make sure that it is fully charged for winter. Your technician can advise whether the battery needs to be replaced, and you can look after this before the colder weather sets in.
6. Change your Windshield Wiper Blades
Windshield wiper blades need to be replaced periodically if they are going to give you the best performance keeping your windshield clean and free from any material that would obstruct visibility. It's a good policy to replace them in the spring and fall so that you are prepared for the change of seasons.
Windshield wipers that are leaving streaks on the windshield when in use will need to be replaced. Wiper blades whose rubber has become stiff or cracked will also need to be switched out for new ones.
When removing snow and ice from your windshield, use a scraper and a car brush. Don't rely on your windshield wipers for this purpose. If the snow is heavy or you have ice sticking to the wipers, you run the risk of overloading your car's motor.
Lift the wipers off the glass before you park your car overnight during the winter if snow is in the forecast. This step will keep them from freezing to the windshield.
6. Fill your Windshield Washer Fluid Reservoir
Winter driving conditions can mean extra dirt, salt and grime landing on your car's windshield. Make sure that your windshield washer fluid reservoir has been topped up. In cold weather, the solution you choose should contain an antifreeze along with the standard ingredients. You don't want the windshield washer fluid to freeze when the weather drops below freezing.
It's a good idea to keep an extra container of windshield washer fluid in your trunk. That way, you can add more fluid regularly so that you don't run out unexpectedly.
7. Check your Car's Heater
Now is the time to make sure that you have heat in your car. Turn it on and make sure that the interior cabin has warm air. Check to make sure that there is warm air being targeted toward the windshield when you put the car into its Defrost function.
You'll also want to make sure that your rear window defroster is working properly the first time there is a cool morning. If you notice anything amiss, take your car in to be checked out my a Mercedes technician.
Put Together a Winter Safety Kit
Along with getting your car physically ready for winter, you need to make sure that you have it outfitted with supplies in case you break down while on the road. If you follow the tips outlined above to get your car ready for winter, you may never need to use your safety kit. You should still prepare it and keep it in your car in case the unexpected happens.
Your winter safety kit should contain the following items:
- Jumper Cables
- Antifreeze and Oil
- A Snow Shovel
- Flashlight and Extra Batteries
- Flares and Lightsticks
- First Aid Kit
- A Blanket for each member of your family
- Candle and Wooden Matches
- Toilet Paper
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Wipes
- Road Atlas
- Calling Card
- Bottled Water
- Pack of playing cards, Travel-sized Board Games, Book
If your battery goes dead, you can use the jumper cables get your car started. Once you get the car started, its alternator will recharge the battery so that you can drive it to an auto parts retailer to get it replaced.
Antifreeze and Oil
You may need to top up your fluids in your car while out on the road. Do check the levels for these two items regularly throughout the winter and add more as necessary.
A snow shovel can be used to dig your way out of snow if your car gets stuck.
Flares and Lightsticks
The flares and lightsticks are to be used to mark your location if you get stuck in the snow so that other motorists, snowplow operators will be aware of your location. They also assist roadside assistance workers in finding your location.
A whistle is a distinct sound that can bring help to your location in an emergency. If you are yelling to try to attract rescuers, you will eventually become hoarse. Your voice can get lost in the wind or mistaken for other sounds in a natural disaster. A whistle doesn't take a lot of effort to blow, and is more likely to bring help to you when you need it.
First Aid Kit
This essential item allows you to stop bleeding and give comfort to people who have been injured before help arrives. If you and your family have been involved in an accident during the winter, it may take longer for paramedics and emergency crews to get to your location. You may need to provide help to someone who has been injured in the meantime.
Blanket for Each Member of the Family
Blankets can be used for warmth, keep everyone comfortable for sleep when stranded and be used for First Aid, if necessary.
Candle and Matches
Lit candles will keep your car heated for several hours without running down your battery. The best type to buy for this purchase are the inexpensive tea lights that are packaged in their own metal container. You can find them at dollar stores or in department stores. Store the candles and matches in clear plastic freezer bags for easy access.
Wooden matches make a better choice than the paper versions for a few reasons. If the paper ones get wet, they are impossible to light. If you are stuck in your car in very cold temperatures, trying to manipulate paper matches may prove difficult if your finger are slightly numb. Wooden matches will be easier to light because they are more sturdy.
Place coffee can in a spot where it will not be knocked over. Put three of them into the coffee can (remove the label first) and then light the candles.
Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer, Baby Wipes
In case of being stuck where there are no toilet facilities, do take along a supply of toilet paper and baby wipes. Hand sanitizer can be used to keep hands clean. You may want to pack a funnel for female family members so they can urinate into a bottle, which can then be emptied outside your vehicle.
A GPS (Global Positioning System) is a popular device that many people have come to rely on for navigation. Unfortunately, they are not always entirely accurate. If you are driving in winter (especially if you are not on a major highway) and are not certain about the directions your GPS has given you, do double check your location and route with a road atlas.
When traveling, your cell phone may run out of battery power or service may be interrupted due to extreme cold or inclement weather. Keeping a calling card allows you to make calls from a payphone. It could prove to be a valuable communication tool and will not take up an inordinate amount of space in your car.
Debit and credit cards are used by many people for everyday transactions, and we tend not to think about the consequences if a computer issue or other problem makes it impossible for us to use them to pay for gas while we're traveling. Carry enough cash to cover a tank of gas and incidentals in case it's needed.
Place a gallon of bottled water per person in your car before heading out on a trip. If your car gets stuck and you are waiting for help, don't try to bring snow into the vehicle and melt it for drinking water. It's not clean and can lead to illness.
It's a good idea to take some fresh food with you on the trip, and you should also carry some food that will not spoil in a hurry. Think of items that will give you and your family energy and not go bad in a hurry, such as granola or energy bars, dried fruit and beef jerky.
Playing Cards, Travel Games, Book
These items will help to pass the time while waiting for assistance if you get stuck in the snow while traveling. They also give children something to do so that they don't panic while waiting in a confined space.
Is Your Mercedes Due for Regular Maintenance Before Winter?
One of the best things you can do to winterize your car is to stay on top of its regular maintenance all year round. If your car is due for a regular maintenance check before winter, make a point of keeping the appointment. Ask that your car be given extra attention to ensure that it's ready for winter at the same time. Your technician will ensure that it is checked properly before the snow starts flying.
When you are looking for a shop to replace Mercedes Brakes in Chicago or do any type of service on your vehicle, you can count on Burdi Motorworks' factory trained technicians to get the job done to your satisfaction. Contact us today to schedule your personal appointment.