For the most part, an Australian winter isn’t going to be the most disastrous thing for your car. While snow, ice and sleet aren’t going to wreak havoc on most cars down under in the way Americans have to deal with, the drop in temperatures and wild weather can still play their part in reducing your car’s performance in a number of ways. Here’s how you can make sure you can keep your car rolling on through to the Spring in the best of health.
Check Your Tyre Pressures
As any meterologist will tell you, a drop in temperature also leads to a drop in air pressure, even inside your tyres. Low tyre pressure can play havoc with the way your car drives, potentially reducing handling performance, fuel economy and leading to uneven wear that can significantly shorten the life of your rubber. As the temperatures drop over the next couple of months, now’s the best time to grab a tyre pressure gaugemake sure your tyres are properly inflated to factory-spec.
Ensure Your Battery is Working at Full Capacity
Almost any driver of a relatively old car will have experienced the slightly harder starting process that comes with the arrival of Old Man Winter. Even in above-freezing temperatures, cold weather is generally unkind to your battery’s cells (and therefore capacity), making it far more prone to discharging if it was on its way out already. Have a mechanic properly examine your battery, or even invest in a portable battery charger to ensure that you’re never left flat on a cold morning.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
While most Australians won’t ever need to worry about waking up to a winter wonderland, they will know that winter means rain. Rain means reduced visibility, and if your wipers are on the way out, a significantly more dangerous driving experience. You don’t want to be that person squinting through their windscreen to get an idea of what’s ahead when the weather turns sour, so make sure your washer fluid is topped up and your wiper blades are working properly by either cleaning or replacing them.
Get Your Lights in Order
Assuming that you haven’t yet been pulled over and you’re still running with a faulty light, as the rain and the fog sets in, now is the time to make sure your headlights, tail lights, brake lights and indicators are brought back up to full working order. Not only for the safety of yourself, but also for those on the road with you. If you’ve been tossing up the idea of installing some fog lights, daytime running lights or driving lights, now is the time to make the plunge as well.
While Australian roads generally aren’t salted (unless you live in an alpine region), our highways and roads become significantly dirtier and grimier in the winter due to the amount of rain, mud and grit that’s generally tossed up in wet weather. A fresh coat of car wax on your ride’s more exposed areas (mainly the front, hindquarters and quarter panels) can do wonders in making sure that your car doesn’t come out of winter looking like it’s been to the Tundra and back. Make sure it’s well cleaned and polished first, though.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent any damage to exposed paintwork in winter conditions is to, well, make sure it’s not exposed in the first place. If you’re a stickler for making sure your car is kept out of the elements as much as possible, invest in a quality car cover and you really can’t go wrong. If the idea of taking off and putting on a car cover all winter doesn’t appeal to you, a frost blocker is a great investment to make sure your windscreen and mirrors are crystal clear every morning.