Winterize the car: checklist from insurance to antifreeze

Message of 11/21/2022

By Catherine Kugelmeier

Winter is coming, in the first regions there was even snow. At the latest now, you need to make sure that the car is winterized. In addition to tires, antifreeze and the like in preparation for low temperatures, November is also the month of the year when you should check your car insurance and change it if necessary.

icon photo. (Photo: Pixabay)

Region. A general rule of thumb for winter tires is from October to Easter. This year, however, the temperatures in October were still so warm that winter tires would not have been ideal. In the meantime, however, winter has also arrived and we will summarize what you should think about with your car by November at the latest in order to prepare everything perfectly for winter. In addition, November also offers a decent savings opportunity for some, because you can only change your car insurance regularly on November 30 without a special right of termination.

Check the car insurance
Drivers have the opportunity to change their auto insurance once a year. The reference date is November 30. Apart from this annual date, you can only change your car insurance within the framework of special cancellation options, for example after an accident, change of owner or premium increase. If you compare rates and providers, you can save up to 30 percent on average, in special cases even more than 40 percent.

Before switching, you should definitely check current insurance coverage and ask yourself the following questions before doing a comparison on a comparison portal: How many kilometers do I drive per year? Do I need more kilometers or can I reduce the mileage? Do I have full or partial insurance and what do I really need? Do I have young or novice drivers driving my vehicle? Does it make sense to tie up a workshop in case of damage? All of these are factors that have a strong influence on the contribution that the insurance company makes and give potential for savings.

Are the winter tires still good and are they already installed?
Winter tires must be put on the car at the latest after the first snowfall and permanently low temperatures. If you don’t make the change yourself, you should make an appointment quickly, because with the first snow, everyone suddenly wants to put winter tires on their car yesterday. However, before that, you should check the tires to see if they are still good and offer safe driving in winter. Because winter tires without a sufficient profile are just as bad as not having winter tires. The tread depth must be at least four millimeters, otherwise, or if the tires are more than ten years old, new ones must be used.

By the way, tires should always be replaced in pairs, if one tire is no longer good, its “partner” should also be bought new. If you don’t have a tread depth gauge, you can use a 2 euro coin. It has a silver border that is exactly four millimeters wide. If you put the coin on the profile and its edge is still visible, the tires need to be replaced. By the way: winter tires are not a general obligation in winter, but are mandatory depending on the situation on ice, snow and sleet and there is a risk of a fine.

check lighting
Especially in the dark season, it is particularly important that the car lighting works reliably. Regular lighting can be checked just to safely control all lights in case someone calls for help. Because in addition to the headlights and high beams, the turn signals, brake lights and fog lights must also be checked. Working light sources are not only important for seeing well, but also for being seen well.

Add antifreeze to cleaning water
In addition to light, good vision also includes clean windows. Salt residue and mud in particular can significantly affect visibility in winter, so windshield washer fluid tends to be used more frequently. In order for it to remain liquid and not freeze, you must definitely add antifreeze to the cleaning water in time. Especially at the beginning of winter, the concentrates are suitable for mixing, as they can simply be poured into the wiper fluid tank and filled with water. Canned mixes are also available for the rest of the winter and are often cheaper.

After adding the antifreeze, it’s important to flush the front and rear windows with plenty of cleaning water until you’re sure the winter mix is ​​in all the lines. If you do not do this, you risk “summer water” freezing in the pipes; This not only results in the wiper water system not working, but can also lead to damage to the pipes. Tip: If you park the car outside a garage, you should finally clean the windows once with cleaning water. This prevents traces of salt or other particles from being left behind, which in the worst case can cause scratches on the glass the next morning when scraping off the ice.

Have an ice scraper and small broom handy.
In order to be able to drive with a clear view, the car often has to be cleared of ice and snow first in winter. You should definitely have an ice scraper and ideally a small broom ready on hand. Snow is much easier to remove with a broom than with an ice scraper, so your hands will stay dry and free of snow, especially with large amounts. An ice scraper should work well and be easy to use; Whether you prefer longer handles, glove variants or small ice scrapers – it’s completely individual. However, be careful with metal edged ice scrapers as they can scratch the crystals. Don’t forget: A car should always be free of snow and ice on all sides. Also on the roof! If you are traveling with a car, it is not fully included everybody Windows that are cleared of snow and ice should expect a fine.

If you don’t feel like scratching at all, you can at least keep the windscreen reliably free of ice with special windscreen protection foils. Window defrosters can also be helpful, especially if there is a persistent layer of ice, but they are not necessarily recommended for environmental reasons. By the way, it is better to store ice scrapers and the like in the trunk, because if you open a snow-covered side door, a lot of snow will often get inside and you will be sitting on a wet seat. You are familiar with windows that fog up on the inside in winter. An air-permeable cloth bag with cat litter helps here, which retains a little moisture inside.

Keep door seals before winter
So that the door seals are not damaged by the low winter temperatures, they must be cleaned and cared for before winter. To do this, the gaskets on all doors are properly cleaned once with a damp cloth and, if necessary, with a cleaning agent and then completely dried. Finally, you should definitely grease the stamps with a care product. Special care products with deer tallow are particularly suitable for this. These also ensure that the doors do not freeze in winter. You may need to repeat greasing once if the effect wears off. Because frozen doors should not be forced open under any circumstances, because damaged or even broken seals can quickly become expensive.

have access to door lock defrosters
A problem that mainly affects older cars without remote unlocking is frozen door locks. If they are frozen, a special door lock de-icer can help. You should definitely keep it in your jacket or bag, because it’s of little use in the car. If you want to prevent this, you can also treat your door locks with a universal door lock spray as a precaution.

Protect the paint from winter with wax
Salt and sand can attack car paint in winter and cause damage, especially in the long run. To ensure the best possible protection in advance, you should wash your car before winter and care for it with car wax. In addition, you need to wash the car regularly in winter, so that the salt does not remain in the car for a long time. If small paint damage has occurred as a result of cracking, it should be touched up as soon as possible so that larger areas do not flake off due to winter stress. Important to note: Even if washing your car in winter is important, you should avoid washing your car when the outside temperature is minus ten degrees Celsius, so that there are no “heat strokes” on the paint if the temperature differences are too great. tall.

Antifreeze for radiators and diesel
There must also be antifreeze in the car’s cooling water. Such antifreeze should be enough for temperatures down to -25 degrees Celsius so that the engine is protected and safe during the winter. The condition of the coolant can be measured with special antifreeze testers. They are available for a few euros. However, often the trusted workshop also assumes this as a service for customers.

At extremely low temperatures, which fortunately rarely occur in our region in winter, you should also pay attention to the winterability with diesel. If you do not want to refuel with enriched diesel, often called “winter diesel”, you can enrich the diesel with an additive.

Check the battery before winter
Almost everyone who has ever been out and about with an old mobile phone in frigid winter temperatures has probably seen live how very cold temperatures affect the battery. It is very similar to a car battery, which can also be sensitive to low temperatures. If you don’t want to be left with a car in the winter that suddenly won’t start, you should have the battery checked or have it checked as a precaution. If the voltage is less than 12.6 volts, the battery is bad and should at least be connected to a charger. Especially those who drive mainly short distances should take care of the battery in winter and plug in a charger from time to time. However, if the battery is badly damaged during the test and you notice difficulties here and there when starting, you should think about a change so you don’t end up stuck in the cold with a car that won’t start anymore.

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More about this: Auto Guidance and Traffic

Local: Knowledge and Environment

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