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Winter recovery - car care

By Angie Rodenburg

Fri, Mar 7th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Winter has a way of wreaking havoc on our vehicles. Between the bitter cold, snow, sand, and ice it is no wonder that vehicles can encounter a whole slew of problems here in the Great White North. As we start to see the (hopefully) soon coming thaw, there are a few things you can do to lessen the wear and tear of your car and keep your vehicle running at peak performance.

Steve Huper of Steve’s Auto in Chatfield, Minn. encourages driver’s to wash their vehicles as often as possible. “Whenever there is a warmer day, take your car to the car wash,” said Huper. Huper also suggests opting for the underbody car wash option to get all the grit and grime out from under the car. If an even deeper underbody wash is needed, the guys at Steve’s Auto can hoist up vehicles and take a hose to the underbody, ensuring the car is as clean as possible. This service costs $25.

Getting your car washed on a regular basis not only helps with the look of your car, it also is necessary in keeping your vehicle in top running condition. A dirty underbody can cause rusty frames, ball joints, and tie rod ends. It can also negatively affect the steering and suspension components of the vehicle. “These parts have to be replaced more often here than in other part of the U.S.,” said Huper.

Colby Lind, a teacher at Rushford-Peterson High School, gives students great advice in the “Car Care” class offered at the school. Lind recommends to keep testing your antifreeze even as it starts to thaw. Also, keep getting oil changes on schedule. Delaying a needed oil change during the winter can be very hard on a vehicle. Lind also has a rule he keeps about never letting his fuel gauge get below the halfway mark.

Lind also reinforces the northern staple of letting your car run before using it, watching your temperature gauge to know when the car is ready to be driven. When the outside temperatures are freezing, oil thickens. Engine damage can occur if motor oil is too thick in cold temperatures. Once the car is warmed up, the oil will flow more easily, ensuring it is lubricating every part of the vehicle that it needs to in order to run properly.

Lind also recommends to his students that everyone keep an emergency kit in their vehicles. This is important for any time of the year, but is especially important when there is snow on the ground. Lind also recommends that a blanket be kept in the vehicle in case of emergency, whether you are stuck and waiting for a tow truck or are stranded and have to sleep in your car over-night.

Going the extra mile in taking care of your car can not only improve your vehicle’s performance and longevity, but can also help to ensure the safety of you and your family.

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