Christmas has come and gone, we spent time with and bought all sorts of stuff for our family and friends. But chances are you forgot to give a gift to one of the most important parts of your family – your car. How dare you! Sitting out there, all alone in the cold. Don’t you think your car deserves a little something for the holidays? You’re darn right it does. Now take the little bit of money left in your bank account and pick something up to make your ride feel like a proper part of the family.
Prep It for Winter Weather
Just like you go from shorts and t-shirt to boots, gloves, and coat, your car shouldn’t wear the same clothes in winter as it did all summer. A few things to think about when prepping your car for winter:
Get some winter tires. Depending on where you live, setting your car up with winter tires will help with wear on your regular rubber, get better fuel economy, and not to mention keep you a lot safer. Keep this in mind especially if you have a rear-wheel-drive car or run summer/high-performance tires during the warmer months. Even if you have all-season tires, now is a good time to check the tread on all four just to make sure they’re safe.
Think about changing your oil. Even if you’re not due for a change, consider switching to a lighter weight oil. If you run a high-viscosity oil in the summer like I do, it will be harder to move around the engine when it gets too cold.
Get a good car cover. Yes, the good ones are expensive, but think about the wear and tear they will save your paint. If you keep your car outside, especially during the winter, be sure to get a cover meant for heavy weather, and make sure it can be secured well. Pick these up from just about any online performance auto parts store. Some companies make custom covers, so be sure to check to see if there’s a cover made for your specific car.
Finally, check your tire pressure, fluids, and drop by your mechanic to have him check your alignment and run a basic inspection to make sure everything is up to snuff.
Yes, it’s winter time, and if you live anywhere that gets snow, it’s difficult to keep your car looking clean during these few months. Still, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it…
First, make sure the interior is protected by picking up some interior protectant to keep your vinyl, rubber, and plastic from getting dry and cracked as well as protecting it from the sun’s brutal UV rays. Here are a few good choices from Turtle Wax, Armor All, and Meguiar’s:
Leather Cleaner & Conditioner
If you have a leather interior, make sure to get some good leather conditioner as well. Nothing makes a good car look old like dry, faded, and cracked leather. Make sure you get some decent stuff – that cheap crap makes it look shiny for a few hours, but that’s about all it does. Remember, there is a difference between leather cleaner and leather conditioner. Make sure to get a product that does both, or two bottles – one of each. Some kits, like the Griot’s kit you see below, include both. Take a look here for a few choices for good leather cleaner & conditioner from uberwürx, Griot’s, and Lexol:
Keep that Windshield Clear
Nothing sucks more than coming outside at 7 AM, freezing your ass off, and having to scrape off layers of snow and ice off the windshield. Prevent it in the first place by grabbing a windshield snow cover.
Once you’re on the road, make sure your windshield wiper blades are new. Those 3-year-old dry and cracked blades just don’t cut it during the winter. It helps to get a wiper made for winter weather too, check out a few options from Rain-X, Bosch, and Anco below. Make sure to find your correct size wipers; all those listed below are 20-inch blades for price comparison purposes: