How to prepare your car for winter: advice from the auto expert

Как подготовить машину к зиме: советы автоэксперта

Heavy snowfall, held in Ukraine in late November, showed that motorists were not ready for them. Winter for many drivers, as always, came unexpectedly. An incredible number of accidents and traffic jams were triggered by hapless drivers who had not replaced the tires on their cars. As a result, many major cities and on some roads there was traffic jams — traffic was blocked for a long time. The effects of the day many drivers clear up the mess and to this day, repairing their cars after road accidents. And some have moved their recovery to warm days. However, only one replacement tire is not enough to ensure that the machine was properly prepared for the winter period. What else must be done for motorists, we asked popular Ukrainian automobile journalist and expert Yuliya Maksymchuk.

— Let’s start with a trivial replacement of tires. Explain when you do need to change summer tires for winter? After all, as practice shows, do it with the first snowfall clearly later!

You are right. To change summer tires for winter need much earlier. According to tyre manufacturers, this procedure should be done when the mean daily air temperature reduced to the level of plus 7 degrees. Please note, we are talking about the “plus”. Already at this temperature the summer “rubber” hardens so that it can no longer accurately contact with the road surface. And this greatly reduces the ratio of the traction. As a result, the tyre begins to work as ski, significantly increasing the car’s braking and significantly compromising its stability and handling.

The rubber compound of winter tires are special additives that significantly reduce the impact of low temperatures on the density of the tread. That is, in the cold the tires are not dubeet. An important role is also played by the presence of lamellae numerous special slits in the tread of winter tires, which help them to better cling to the surface of the road even on slippery surfaces.

The effectiveness of the use of “rubber”, corresponding to the season, confirmed by numerous tests showing a significant difference in the opportunities of summer and winter tires when braking and maneuvering. In the cold season traffic safety when driving on summer tires is reduced significantly.

— Tires clear. What else is in the car requires special training for the winter season?

In addition to tires, not less important condition is the preparation of the car for the winter is to apply the appropriate fluids. First and foremost, this concerns the washer system for automotive glass. Given that now there are already freezing temperatures, those drivers who did not bother in anticipation of frost to replace this fluid, have gotten themselves in serious trouble.

The fact that summer windscreen washer freeze even at temperatures slightly below zero, and the fastest crystallization occurs there, where less fluid in the piping system. First, this has a negative impact on traffic safety without the aid washer wiper will not be able to clean the glass of the car from road debris, which the driver is deprived of normal visibility. Second, the defrost system would be problematic — for this car should stand for at least a night in a warm box or the Parking lot, where a constant zero temperature (and if there is not very warm, not less than a day).

In addition, you may experience several associated problems. Trying to push the frozen liquid, the electric pump creates in the system of high blood pressure, which can depressurize the pipeline in the joints. Because of this, the washer will start to leak into the cabin, Bay electrical connectors, limit switches and expensive electroplate, as well as causing the occurrence of corrosion. Some modern cars with a station wagon and a hatchback the washer nozzle rear window is often inserted in the additional brake light. At freezing summer liquid expands, causing the cracks to “stop”. Machines with these defects generally indicate that an unlucky car owner.

— Is there still any liquid, except for the washer that need to change with the arrival of winter?

Of course. It is equally important to check the density coolant — this parameter directly affects the quality of the antifreeze and its ability to operate normally at low and high temperatures (do not freeze and do not boil). This is especially true for used vehicles and those machines were repaired the cooling system, therefore drained and refilled with ATF. The average service life of antifreeze is two to five years. After this time the density is reduced, and working qualities are getting worse. In the winter and severe frosts it is dangerous because of the coolant can be corny freezing, triggering the failure of not only the radiator but also the engine. To date, the antifreeze many manufacturers have a density corresponding to the freezing temperature of minus 35-40 degrees. The fluid density can be measured by a special device — a hydrometer, although this is best left to professionals HUNDRED.

For optimal engine starting at sub-zero temperatures it is very important that the battery was workable. If a cold start the engine has become difficult, the battery needs to be recharged, and if that does not work replace it with new one. In the cold starting current of the battery decreases considerably, while cranking motor requires more power than in the warm season. In the accepted batteries in preparation for winter it is recommended to check the electrolyte density, as this parameter directly affects the capacity and battery life. This procedure is performed with a hydrometer. The density of the electrolyte to determine the battery status. If he runs out quickly, you should check the condition of the fluid in each jar. In our latitudes, the electrolyte density should be in the range of 1.27/1.30 grams per cubic centimeter plus 25 degrees. If measurements are performed at other temperatures (e.g., by freezing), these parameters need to be amended. Again, this work is better to trust the experienced craftsmen.

In winter you often have to deal with icing and misting, which impairs driver visibility. How to solve this problem?

Really good visibility is one of the keys to safe riding. In winter, it is often complicate the steamed-up glass. This is due to condensation — moisture condenses in the coldest areas of the cabin, in particular on the Windows of the car. Moisture is also formed by human breathing. The more in the cabin passengers, the higher the humidity and the stronger would fog up the glass. Condensation also contributes to the evaporation of moisture from the wet snow from shoes, clothes and car mats, especially the cloth. So in the winter it is recommended to use rubber mats — they do not absorb moisture and are easier to care for, regularly cleaning them with the melted water. Sitting in the salon, you should carefully shake snow from clothing and shoes.

By the way, the misting can cause a clogged cabin filter ventilation and heating of the cabin. It is recommended to be changed every 10-15 thousand kilometers. To deal effectively with the misting will help and application of conditioning — it is perfectly dries the air inside the cabin, quickly removing the moisture out of it. But it is important to remember that while the engine is cold, air conditioning does not work, however, once the motor is warmed up, the air conditioner will start to work.

See also: “Wipers” to pick up on the night is not necessary, and the interior is better ventilated: useful life hacks to motorists for the winter

Another problem that is common in winter drivers face a ice glasses. Usually this happens after a prolonged Parking of the vehicle on the bitter cold (especially at night) when the Windows begin to freeze due to the difference in temperature between the cold outer and the warm inside the cabin. To avoid this, it is recommended that after the trip is short (two to three minutes) to open the Windows or doors in the car, the temperature inside the cabin and for his Board leveled. This will significantly reduce the risk of frosting inside the glass, and freeze-in “janitors”. But if the glass still has frosting, then you can start only after they are all completely will be unfrozen from the ice, — the driver needs to have a good 360 degrees.

For quality cleaning glass in cold weather operation I recommend to use frameless brushes or so-called winter “wipers”, the movable elements of which are closed with rubber cover. These brushes are not afraid of icing and are more efficient than conventional.

— In winter, the drivers often have to deal with freezing doors.

The doors freezing to the rubber seals also occurs due to the difference of temperatures outside and in the cabin. After the trip, the car cools down, the condensation on the seals, freezes, firmly grabbing the door.

In order to avoid such problems are advised to put on seals with special silicone grease, significantly reducing the risk of freezing of doors. Moreover, it is desirable to do it at all “gum”, not only in the cabin, but on the seals of the trunk lid (especially cars with a station wagon and hatchback) and the hood.

Let me also remind you about another winter problem: the freezing of automotive locks. To eliminate it, there are special liquid lubricant that is recommended to treat all cylinder locks.

— Previously, it was believed that in the winter before the trip, definitely need to warm the car engine up to operating temperature. But lately, increasingly, we hear that doing this is not necessary. A little work an motor — and ahead, go. Is this true?

The requirement in prolonged engine warming up in winter with reference primarily to older cars with carbureted engines. Due to its natural wear in these motors are mainly used mineral motor oil of greater viscosity, such as 15W-40, 20W-60 and other. They have to warm up longer than is required for synthetic or semi-synthetic lubricants with low viscosity (used in the new engines). Thus, if in the winter to start driving without warming up the old engine, which is flooded with mineral oil, all parts and components will be subjected to high loads and wear will occur faster. By the way, for this reason there is a perception that in extreme cold (minus 20 degrees and below) cold start of the engine, especially with mineral oil, is equal to the 400-600 kilometers. Besides carbureted engines due to obsolete power system is more demanding of careful setup, when driving “cold” may work unstable or even stall.

See also: Replace the fluid in the washer and buy a spade: how to prepare your car for driving in winter

However, modern engines equipped with system of distributed or direct injection, such problems do not threaten. So, a particularly warm it is not necessary: after start-up is enough for them to work for two to three minutes and start moving. It is important to avoid elevated engine speed and load to other units of the car after the winter and the grease in them must gradually be warmed up in the movement and to enter normal operation mode. This applies to gearboxes, bearings, shock absorbers and other components. If this is not done immediately to give the “gases”, all of these components and assemblies will wear faster.

— Had to be a witness of situations when after a heavy snowfall on the roads drive vehicles with snow “caps” on the roof, the hood and trunk. Apparently, drivers of these machines corny too lazy to fully clear them of snow. Tell whether the dangerous trip on these “snowmen”?

Motor, which is not fully cleared of snow, it is dangerous for the driver and surrounding traffic participants. After all, when driving a “cap” of snow from the hood will be blown away on the windshield, impairing visibility for the driver, and the snow from the roof will be on the cars behind. If this “cap” of frozen snow, podtal, it can leave them in the glass or other parts of the body and damage them. In addition, the snow from the roof can pull the windshield unexpectedly and block the driver’s view of untreated “snowman”. That is, riding on a snow-covered car significantly increases the risk of emergency situations on the road and affects traffic safety.

In order to avoid troubles recommend, as they say, to combine business with pleasure: to combine short-term warming up of the engine with cleaning the car from snow. You need to run the engine, turn on “the stove”, directing the airflow to the windshield for defrosting, activate the rear defroster and the engine along with the interior heat up, brush to clear the snow “hat” to the entire body of the car. Only then can you start moving, remembering the gentle and gradual heating of the other parts of the car in the first kilometers of the trip.

— Whether in preparing the car for winter operation, be equipped with it? For example, the wires for the “booster” battery case in extreme cold fail native battery or when help will ask a fellow motorist?

Regardless of the season every driver it is advisable to equip your car with additional avtogazeta that will be relevant at any time of the year. In particular, I would recommend drivers to always carry with you:

  • the wires for the “booster” battery (in the winter the actuality of this device even higher — a worn battery can fail at the most inopportune moment);
  • a small shovel (in winter to dig the car out of the snow, and in summer, sand);
  • tow rope (useful both for themselves and for assisting other drivers);
  • flashlight.

In addition, when preparing the car for winter its equipment it is necessary to Supplement more and important equipment:

  • brush for smetana snow and a scraper for cleaning ice from the Windows;
  • gloves or mittens, which will be easier to clean the machine or to dig out from the snow captivity;
  • snow chains or bracelets plastikowymi (this is more need motorists who travel on vacation to the ski resorts).


Meanwhile, as reported “FACTS”, the police will fine drivers for summer tires in the winter.

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