How to Wintertize Your Car
I distinctly remember the first time I ever took Sam through a car wash. It was a sunshine-bright day and we were out on errands. I told Sam I was going to take him somewhere where there was a tropical storm raging. Of course that revved his imagination, as I knew it would. “Yes,” I told him, “there will be torrential rain and the wind will practically blow through our car.” And I admit I added a few other embellishments.
Sam looked alarmed until I laughed and assured him we’d be safe but I wouldn’t explain one more thing.
How to make an errand like a mundane car wash into something special? Take your little guy. Sam was quite fascinated as we drove into the car wash and experienced rain, foaming surf and hurricane gale winds.
Back then I wasn’t thinking much about the environment and the damage a car wash might do, but today I realize that dirty car wash water can eventually wind up in rivers, streams and lakes. One dirty car isn’t such a big deal, but consider the huge number of vehicles on the road today. That adds up to a lot of wasted water, gas, oil and a lot of other nasties entering storm drains. That’s pollution!
A typical car wash at home uses 60 gallons of water in five minutes (compare that to a washing machine which uses an average of 45 gallons per load). WaterSavers® car washes use an average of no more than 40 gallons of fresh water per car, plus that water is either recycled or returned to the environment cleanly. That’s why green car washes like WaterSavers® are such a terrific idea.
Not only are WaterSavers® car washes kinder to the environment, regular cleaning protects the investment you have in your car. Road salt, acid rain, bird droppings and sun damage take their toll on a car’s finish. Regular care can make a positive difference in your car’s condition.
A clean car exterior is just part of prolonging the life of your car. According to the International Carwash Association, proper maintenance goes a long way in preserving the investment in your vehicle. To ensure the comfort and safety of you and your family as well as maintain the value of your car, the association recommends you take time to winterize your car:
- Switch engine oil: Oil lubricates the engine so it can function properly, but not all automobile oil is the same. If you live in a cold climate, consider switching to a thinner, less viscous oil. 10W-30 might be ideal for hot summer weather, but a thicker 5W-30 is better for when temperatures dip below freezing.
- Maintain a car wash routine: Due to the presence of ice, salt and sand on the roads, washing your vehicle in the winter is even more important than the summer. Getting a car wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature begins to drop can be your first line of defense against winter elements. Vehicular corrosion occurs most quickly when the temperature rises and falls below freezing.
- Check the battery: Cold weather can take a toll on your car’s battery. Before you get stranded, give your battery a once-over to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Check the cables, terminals and fluid and look for anything abnormal. Some battery retailers will conduct a complementary car battery assessment if you’d prefer an expert analysis.
- Update engine coolant: Just because it’s chilly doesn’t mean your engine can’t overheat. Ask your car technician to change to a coolant with ethylene glycol which has antifreeze properties. While replacing coolants, ask the technician to make sure all fluids are topped off, including window washer solution.
- Get a grip on tire safety: If you live in an area where winter means driving in snow and ice, it’s critical to check your tires to keep you and your passengers safe. Each tire should have an adequate amount of tread to properly grip the road. You can easily see if new tires are needed with the penny test — hold a penny head down in the center tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, you have less than 2/32-inch tread and it’s time for new tires. Also be sure to your tires are properly inflated to ensure optimum handling, safety, and fuel efficiency.
For more information about the WaterSavers® initiative visit them on their website. There are more than 1,500 environmentally friendly car washes worldwide enrolled in the program that meet water quality and usage standards. No torrential rain or hurricane gales necessary.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Carwash Association. The opinions and text are all mine.
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