Fall is officially here, and the weather is only going to get colder and wetter. Now is the best time to get your vehicle ready for the chillier seasons to keep small problems from becoming major disasters. Of course, seasonal maintenance can get expensive: the average American car owner spends approximately $9,282 a year keeping their vehicle in good shape. That’s a lot of money, but the average American also spends an average of 87 minutes a day in their vehicle and it’s important to keep your car up and running.
To help you keep your car expenses down while preparing your vehicle for the ice and snow, here are five budget-friendly tips you can use.
1. Get an oil change
If you’re looking for a simple way to prepare your car for the winter without blowing your budget, start by changing the oil. Think of your oil like your home’s water. Water heating makes up 18% of your home’s energy costs and that cost goes up during the winter because the water coming into the water heater is colder than other times of the year. This happens with your oil, too. Your car’s oil viscosity changes in severe weather and it’s important to make sure that the oil you’re using won’t become too thick in the cold for your vehicle to work properly. This is also why it’s important to warm up your car before you begin driving. Your car’s oil needs time to thin out in the engine’s heat or else it’ll be too thick to properly lubricate your engine.
2. Replenish your car’s fluids
Your vehicle runs on a lot of fluids during the colder seasons: antifreeze, washer fluid, oil, etc. It’s crucial to make sure that you have a sufficient supply of these fluids on hand not only in your vehicle itself but also in the trunk in case your car needs a refill when you least expect it.
3. Replace your windshield wipers
Windshield wipers ought to be replaced approximately every six to 12 months. Old and damaged windshield wipers won’t do you any favors when it comes to increasing visibility during autumn rain and winter snowstorms. To make sure your car is ready for the colder seasons, inspect your windshield wipers to determine the shape they’re in. If it’s been over six months and they’re looking a little ragged, replace them for your safety.
4. Install some security
The global dashboard camera market is expected to grow by 15.3% by the end of 2020. Dashcams can help to keep your vehicle protected during the holiday season when thieves may be more likely to break into your car to steal gifts, money, or credit cards. Automatic car starters are also a great addition for the winter season because they allow you to warm up your engine on your way to your vehicle. This means you can simply get into your car and drive away rather than sitting in your vehicle where you can risk being robbed.
5. Change your tires at the right time
Tires aren’t exactly cheap, but you can save a lot of money on winter tires by waiting to change them at the right time. In fact, changing your tires too early can not only cost you more money but it can also cause damage to the road. That said, consider waiting until the first snowfall to officially change over to winter tires. While you wait, be sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure, which can change during the colder weather.
With winter right around the corner, now is the best time to prepare your vehicle for the coldest time of the year. By following the tips above, you can get your vehicle ready for the ice and snow without breaking your budget.