Tech Tip - October 2008

Carter Automotive
107 West 11th Street
Coffeyville, KS 67337
Phone: (800) 225-4813 (620) 251-4700
FAX: (620) 251-2215

Winter proofing your car's exterior

As the weather gets cooler, lots of folks start thinking about getting their vehicle ready for winter. Sure it's important to keep it mechanically sound, but often it is easy to forget other safety features related to the car's exterior.

A few hours work now while the weather is agreeable can save you a lot of headaches when the nasty winter weather finally arrives. To see a complete list of mechanical winterization tips, check out our archived tech tips for more info.

Windshield and wipers: A clean, streak free windshield is important to good winter visibility. Clean all glass - inside and out - including rear view and outside driver and passenger mirrors. There are many newer products available to help shed water from the windshield. These can be applied by hand or come as additives to the washer solution. You can also apply a light coating of wax (not polish or anything gritty - just pure wax) to the windshield and outside mirrors to keep rain, snow, ice and road grime from sticking and making driving dangerous. Make sure your washer fluid reservoir is filled with "Winter grade" fluid and not too diluted with summer bug juice that may freeze up on when the mercury drops. The winter and summer formulas are completely different and are designed to do separate things. Summer bug juice contains more detergents and solvents to help clean dead bugs off. Winter products contain more methyl alcohol (poison) to lower the freezing point and de-ice. New wiper blades complete the service of your front windshield and are essential for clearing snow and freezing rain. As a final touch, you might check to make sure your wiper spray nozzles are cleaned and spraying a good pattern on the glass and touch up the front window seal with some "black chrome" or silicone polish.

Headlights and tail lights: Ever come up behind someone at night whose tail lights are almost complete blocked with drifted snow or ice? Pretty scary isn't it? Make sure you are not the cause of an accident. Apply a plastic wax to your head lights and tail lights and carry a small broom or brush in your trunk to whisk away any snow that builds up during winter storms. Replace any cracked lens or burned out bulbs (its the law) and make sure all are working properly and head lights are aimed correctly. Visibility is the key to safe stopping distances on icy and snow packed roads.

Door and trunk seals, hinges, locks and latches: Ahh, few things are more irritating then coming out to get into your vehicle when the weather is lousy only to find the doors frozen shut. Then, you go to the trunk to grab the de-icer and find it's frozen closed too! Once it happens, its too late, and you risk damaging your door seal by forcing them open. Take a moment now to clean the seal with a good rubber cleaner and lightly silicone them with a spray lube. While you're at it, hit the trunk seal, all latches and hinges and apply a small amount of graphite powder to the door locks. Don't forget the engine hood seal and hinges.

Paint: Before winter weather arrives, take a moment to wash and wax your car. Pick a nice weekend and make a day of it. After all, the car or truck can represent one of the largest single investments of many families after the primary residence. Wash from the top to the bottom, dry with chamois, clean with clay bar, polish and then finish with your favorite wax. Carter's carries the fine Duragloss line of paint car products and can recommend or special order any of their different synthetic or specialized polishes, rubbing compounds or waxes. Paint care as come a long way since the old carnauba turtle wax your dad used to use. Don't be afraid to try out the new synthetic products that last longer, go on easier and some say look even better when used as part of a comprehensive paint care system.

We hope these reminders will help you to keep your car or truck running smoothly all winter with no surprises. If you are unsure about how to do something, the friendly service team at Carter Automotive will be glad to help. Carters stocks a full line of lubricants, polishes, cleaners, and wiper blades and can also help with your other winterization needs.

Print me and take me to one of the 6 Carter Automotive locations in SE Kansas. Our friendly and knowledgeable counter staff will help you find the perfect parts for your application at the right price.