Winter weather can have a devastating impact on homes and businesses, but cars can also take a beating when temperatures drop and snow falls.
But when the snow stops and the sky clears, drivers need to follow a few steps to prevent some costly car repairs down the line.
Wash your car
Salt put down on roads and highways after a winter storm can take a toll on your car, especially the undercarriage.
The more you drive during the winter, the more salt can collect on and under your vehicle. And unless you wash your car, the salt will cause corrosion that can damage not only your paint job but the important equipment under the car.
The American Automobile Association suggests washing the wheel wells and brakes underneath the vehicle to ensure no salt remains after the snow and ice melt.
And don't wipe the salt down that sticks to the side of your car or on top of it. That will scratch the paint.
Tires are one of the most important pieces of equipment on your car. Without them, you're not going anywhere. Making sure your tires are properly inflated, showing no signs of damage and ensuring they have adequate tread depth can help prevent significant problems.
When temperatures drop, the air in your tires will contract, thus causing them to lose pressure. If your tires are underinflated, and you hit a pothole, chances are high you could get a flat. You can also damage your rims and knock your car out of alignment.
Your car's engine works overtime in the winter, and AAA says that can lead to condensation that can build up and cause damage. So, before and after a winter storm, you'll want to check your fluid levels to ensure everything is topped off.
Cold temperatures can do a number on your windshield wiper blades, too. When temperatures drop, the rubber can be compromised, leading to wipers that don't work well or can be completely inefficient. Keep an eye on your blades all winter, and replace them as needed. If you make it through the winter without replacing them, consider upgrading them in early spring.
According to AAA, your car's battery loses ⅓ of its power when the temperature drops. It takes more power to get everything up and running, which is why it may take a few attempts to start your engine on some cold mornings. Have your battery regularly tested, especially in the winter, to ensure it's running at its optimal performance. And if your battery is more than 3 years old, consider a replacement.