Don’t laugh: We know this is San Diego, and we know the definition of “seasons” is rather loose around here, but that doesn’t mean you should slack on seasonal car maintenance. In many areas of the county, early morning temperatures can dip close to freezing (and below freezing up in the mountains), and we never know what we’ll get in terms of rain. So wipe that smirk off your face and check out these winter maintenance tips, customized for San Diego cars:
Tip 1: Check your battery
Finding out your car’s battery is dead is bad enough—finding out when you get off work at 5pm and it’s already pitch-black outside is much worse. Since cold weather puts added stress on your battery, it’s a good idea to head down to your local repair shop or auto parts store for a battery load test (specialized equipment is needed) and ensure you won’t get stranded in the cold darkness this winter.
Tip 2: Top off the antifreeze
Unless you live in Julian, you probably won’t have to worry about your engine freezing. But unexpected cold snaps can take us by surprise, so make sure your coolant levels are topped off and check for leaks in your engine that could cause it to drain. Getting a “flush and fill” service is optional, but it will guarantee your engine will stay nice and cozy until spring.
Tip 3: Watch out for tire pressure
Did you know that tires lose a pound of pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature? That might not sound like much, but underinflated tires won’t “bite” down to the pavement when it rains, increasing the risk of hydroplaning. And if your tire tread is getting replacement-level low, it’s better to have that done before the rainy season even starts.
Tip 4: Replace the windshield wipers
This one should be obvious, but many people think that because this isn’t a heavy rain region, their windshield wipers can last for years. Unfortunately, the rubber blades on windshield wipers deteriorate over time, making them less effective and dangerously “smeary” when the time comes to use them. So before the next big rainstorm, get your wipers replaced with a fresh new set.
Tip 5: Don’t drain your gas tank
Whether you’re a “fill up at a quarter-tank” or “wait until the gas light blinks” type of driver, you might need to change your ways during the colder months. When the temperature dips close to freezing, your engine has to work harder to get going and the more gas in your tank and fuel pump, the better. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your tank at least half-full at all times.
Tip 6: Clear the leaves
We might not get spectacular fall foliage here in Southern California, but our trees still shed leaves in the fall and winter months. And when leaves, twigs and other debris build up around the areas of your car where water is supposed to drain, like the bottom of the windshield and around the sunroof, leaks or corrosion can occur. Another thing to watch out for as the temperature drops: animal nests under the hood—you might not need to check every day, but a periodic peek can save you from having to clean up a sad, unfortunate mess.
Optimize your ride for a safe, festive winter season
Once you’ve winterized your car, stop by JC Power Audio to further protect and upgrade it. We carry a huge selection of car alarms, navigation systems, and stereo systems. Our installation experts have been decking out cars, trucks, and minivans in San Diego for years, so give us a call today!