Winter is quickly approaching and that means shorter days, colder temperatures, and fewer weekends to spend in the garage preparing for it. Right now is the time we put our fun cars, bikes, and other toys away and go back to driving our beaters. That, or preparing our daily driver for the changing weather. Be it your winter beater or just your daily driver, there is plenty to do so you have a safe season driving to visit your family, commuting to work, or running out for last-minute shopping. The weather won’t stop, so neither should you. This is everything you need to do so your car handles it like a champ.
First up, basic fluid services! You know oil changes are important, but why not take it a step further? Before this season, it’s a good idea to start as fresh as possible. LIQUI MOLY engine flush is the perfect way to clean your engine out so your fresh new LIQUI MOLY oil can do its job as efficiently as possible. Since you’ll probably have to do at least one oil change during the winter, depending on how much you drive, now is also an excellent time to pick up a Schwaben Fluid Extractor to make that mid-winter service a breeze. No mess, no crawling under the car, just a simple vacuum pump to pull out your oil in the most effective way.
You’ll need an oil filter along with your oil service, but what about the other filters in your car? The last thing you want is to be stuck in your car all winter with the windows up and a stinky old cabin air filter filling your car with that tell-tale musty smell. Replace your cabin air filter to make it a pleasant space for the season. On top of that, you definitely don’t want to be stranded, either, so it’s a good idea to go ahead and replace your fuel filter, too. We have all your filter needs right here in one place so you can get your fuel, cabin, and intake filters at once.
Bonus points if you do your DSG fluid and filter service, VW/Audi DSG owners.
If you live below the snow belt, winter means rain. And lots of it. If you live up here by us, then you know it still means rain, but also means snow, sleet, and sketchy driving conditions. Make sure your wiper blades are fresh and new so you can see what’s in front of you! We have the best wiper blade options right here and it takes just a few minutes to change them. It could be a matter of life and death, so don’t skip this simple service. For that matter, washer fluid should also be refilled and intended for use below freezing. De-icer is a must.
Driving in the winter also includes stopping in the winter. You already have wet, icy, and snowy conditions to worry about, no sense in adding another variable to the mix with old brakes. Replace your pads, rotors if they’re worn, and lines if they seem cracked or brittle. Naturally, it’s also a good idea to flush your fluid for consistent pedal feel and sensitivity. Our brake service kits have everything you need. Make that service easier with our Schwaben Brake Pressure Bleeder and a Creeper Stool so you aren’t crawling around on your knees soaking in brake fluid.
Whether you’re above the snow belt or not, winter is rough on wheels. More than just ruining nice wheels, though, it also affects your tires. Grippy, sticky, summer tires turn to hockey pucks in cold temperatures, which reduces their traction and effectiveness to nothing. In ‘warmer’ winter climates, all-season tires are fine. However, up north, a common misconception is that all-season tires are good for every season. That simply isn’t the case. They make compromises to each condition by being somewhat useable in all conditions. They aren’t exactly grippy in the summer and they aren’t soft and sticky in the cold, nor are they perfect for dry or wet conditions. They are just ‘passable’ in all those conditions. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are the norm this time of year, then you need a dedicated set of snow tires. We offer wheel and tire packages that allow you to purchase a set of OEM or aftermarket wheels, have us mount and balance them, and ship them to you ready to go on your car. No trip to the tire store, no ordering wheels, and tires hoping they arrive at the same time, just one simple solution you can install at home. Grab a set of Alzor wheels with snow tires or all-seasons and be ready to drive in style all winter.
When was the last time you checked your heater? Or blower motor? What about your coolant? The heater in your car is effectively just a small radiator that uses warm coolant from your engine to heat air as it passes across it and out your vents. There isn’t a lot to go wrong with it, but if your blower motor is bad, your coolant is old, or something else is broken, now is the time to fix it before you’re stuck in a cold car for your morning and evening commutes. Test that heater out and make sure everything works!
Lastly, it’s important to check all of your bushings, ball joints, shocks, struts, and mounts before you get into winter weather mode. Replacing that stuff in the cold is no fun. Having something fail in the middle of a snowstorm is catastrophic. Save yourself the headache and tackle suspension maintenance on the front end so it can serve you well this winter! We have handy Assembled by ECS suspension refresh kits that have everything in one box so you can know it’s all fresh at the same time and ready to take you there and back again in comfort and safety.
Of course, if you want to make these services and any future DIYs as easy as possible, you should check out our previous article on garage tools to make your life better. Naturally, this is all universal advice. You know your car. Listen to it. Take care of any issues now before the temperature drops and you run out of time to get those repairs or services done in reasonable weather. Make your winter a pleasant driving experience and set your car up for success. We have everything you need right here at ECS Tuning.