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Winter Car Maintenance Tips

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Getting your car ready for winter doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. As the temperatures drop, though, you want to make sure that your car has plenty of wiggle room to ensure safety and optimal performance over the next few months of driving.

Car in the snowy weather
Photo: Pasja1000/Pixabay

Although we don't often get proper snow in Salisbury, the temprerature goes down significantly comparing to the warmer seasons. We all know that mornings can be particularly frosty in the Salisbury area, which makes every car owner's morning routine an absolute nighmare.


However, how you care for your car during the cold winter months has a huge impact on its longevity. When planning out your winter car maintenance, consider these tips to help keep you safe and your car running smoothly all season long.


Use synthetic oil and change it regularly

There are two recommended intervals for oil changes: every 3,000 miles and every 5,000 miles. If you’re in a cold climate and driving conditions are less than ideal (i.e., you spend a lot of time idling in traffic or taking to salt-covered roads), your car can consume as much as 25 percent more oil than usual. If you plan on driving your car regularly during winter weather, it’s best to switch over to synthetic oil at around 10,000 miles. Synthetic oil provides better protection against engine wear caused by extreme temperatures—so if regular oil congeals at very low temperatures, synthetic is likely to stay liquid even when it gets really cold outside.


Get your brakes inspected when you get your oil changed

Nothing is more nerve-wracking than hearing your car start to make a funny noise. Before you take your car in for service, be sure to figure out what it is. For example, if you’re hearing grinding noises when you slow down, it could be a problem with your brakes or rotors that’s easy and cheap to fix. But if you hear clunking sounds, have someone inspect your struts as soon as possible; a bad strut can cause serious damage to other parts of your car and lead to bigger (and costlier) problems down the road. Don’t ignore problems with your car—have them looked at and fixed early!


Check your tire pressure before every trip

The cold weather can have an adverse effect on your car's air pressure, meaning that you might be driving around with underinflated tires. Checking your tire pressure before every trip is a good idea, but be sure to consult your owner's manual to find out what PSI is right for your car. Over- or under-inflating tires will increase wear and tear and reduce fuel efficiency; not a great thing when trying to save money on petrol.


De-icing can cause more damage than not using de-icer

Whenever we're dealing with freezing temperatures and slippery surfaces, it's tempting to reach for a de-icer. The right de-icing product can help improve traction on icy roads and allow you to stay safe when travelling. But not all de-icers are created equal, and overuse can actually cause more harm than good by eating away at your car's paint job. It's important to check that any chemical has been approved for use on your vehicle before you apply it. If in doubt, ask your local garage for advice about what type of de-icer to use—and how much—on your specific vehicle.


If you need help with the winter maintenance of your car or motorbike, we provide a wide range of repair & service options in our Salisbury garage.


To get your vehicle looked at by a repair & service specialist, message us on Facebook, use our contact form or give us a call on 01722 411444.

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