We might not get any snow down here in South Florida, but the winter weather can still get pretty cold. Although it may just take a sweater or a warm jacket to keep us protected from the cold, the same can’t be said for our cars. All kinds of weather can affect a vehicle, from sun damage and salty air in the summertime to harsh winds and cold weather in the winter. Taking care of the car with some routine maintenance can keep it running strong through the cold months, and consumers can take additional steps to protect their vehicle.
Anyone who has lived in Florida long enough knows about wind damage from hurricanes and powerful tropical storms. Just because hurricane season is coming to an end doesn’t mean we’ll stop seeing storms. Up north they may get a winter storm, but the heat of South Florida will turn it into a regular storm. And hey, we’ve seen hail a few times over the last few years – winter is serious business!
The best way to avoid car damage is to park somewhere with a roof, like a public or private garage. Otherwise, getting a car cover to keep the vehicle protected from the sun and the wind is the next best alternative. In the winter months, rain can turn into hail at any point and a winter storm can really pick up the winds. Loose debris can cause minimal and mild damage to a vehicle, from cosmetic wear to battery life.
Maintaining the Battery
It may sound counter-intuitive, but in the winter months, a car battery is more likely to built up dirt, grime, and corrosion around the battery terminals. Not only can it lead to a serious safety risk but it will also cause a dead battery sooner than later. Low air temperatures create electrical resistance, thicken the engine oil, and the battery works harder than usual. Dirt and debris from high winds can make it worse. Pop the hood and check the battery regularly – if you see white powder around the battery terminals, you’ll need to get a special cleaning spray and a brush to clean the battery properly.
Although ice on the streets is a rare occurrence in Florida, that doesn’t mean giving your car a checkup shouldn’t be of concern. Brakes wear down quickly and stop-and-go traffic, and if that isn’t a description of Miami, Florida rush hour, then what is? Don’t get caught in a rainstorm and wonder if your brakes will hold up. Every vehicle needs a little routine maintenance, even if running fine.
Oil changes can also make a difference in how well your vehicle will fair the winter months. Most would suggest that a vehicle should get an oil change every 3,000 miles – 5,000 for newer vehicles. It’s even more prevalent to do so during the cold winter months. Most auto care establishments will use oil formulated to work better with colder temperatures to help keep engine oil from thickening and causing that battery corrosion we discussed.
Take care of your vehicles this winter when you follow these helpful tips. Looking for a new vehicle to start off winter 2019? Come to Miami Lakes Mitsubishi and check out our selection of new Mitsubishi vehicles.