Auto Winter Car Care in Lansing, MI. Get your vehicle ready for Lansing winter conditions. Prevent cold weather breakdowns and safety issues. We specialize in truck winterization. Get your 4WD 4x4 serviced and ready for winter.
We provide car winterize service near Lansing MI. Below is our car winterization service checklist and what is included in our winterize vehicle service. Get your car, SUV, truck, or van ready for winter.
We follow the manufacturer's recommended winter service procedures. Vehicles require different types and weights of engine oil, and coolant types. We check the latest factory recommendations for your vehicle.
Please contact us if you have any questions about vehicle winterization.
3503 W Saint Joseph St
Lansing, MI 48917
Winter Auto Service FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to have your car winterized?
It depends on the vehicle make and model. A diesel truck is different than a small 4 cylinder car. Different oils, oil filters, coolant types all affect the price. Please contact us and we can provide an accurate price.
What does winterizing a vehicle mean?
Winterizing involves preparing your vehicle for the winter conditions in the Lansing, MI area. Cold, snowy conditions place great demands on your vehicle. Having a vehicle breakdown in winter can be a major safety issue.
The important items on your vehicle winterization service list are battery age and condition, engine oil viscosity (weight), and snow tires. Temperature and weather conditions have a large affect on how your vehicle is prepared. Winter conditions in Lansing, MI are much different than in Arizona or Florida!
Do cars still need to be winterized?
New vehicles cope with winter conditions much better than older vehicles. Fuel injected engines start and run much better in cold temperatures. What vehicle winterizing is required varies with how severe the winter conditions are where you live. Contact us for our winter auto maintenance packages for Lansing, MI.
Is it worth buying snow tires?
If you drive on snow covered roads you should use winter rated tires. All-season tires are not good enough and can lead to vehicle fender-benders and serious crashes. If you question the need for snow tires, many vehicle insurance companies offer a discount if you use snow tires. They must know something!
All-season tires are good if snow or icy conditions are minimal. However, they are a compromise both for summer and winter conditions. Studies tell us that dedicated winter tires provide up to 50% more traction than all-season tires.
Even with a 4x4, 4WD, or all-wheel vehicle, or if you drive on snow cleared roads, winter tires improve surface grip on winter road conditions. And more importantly, winter tires improve your braking in heavy snow and icy conditions. The special tread design and soft rubber material of snow tires provide greatly increased traction on snow and ice.
Do I need to change to winter weight engine oil?
Only in extreme cold temperatures. It is best to check your vehicle's Owner's Manual for what weight of oil is required below specific temperatures.
The viscosity or thickness of oil changes with temperature. The colder the temperature the thinner the oil required. Using the wrong engine oil makes the engine difficult to crank and start. Think of the effort required to walk through water compared to thick mud! Contact us for our winter oil change maintenance packages for Lansing, MI.
How long should my battery last?
In areas with a cold climate the average vehicle battery life is less than 5 years, but it can be as low as 3 years. The quality of the battery has a great influence on how long it lasts.
Also, leaving your headlights on and draining the battery will decrease its life. It is estimated that every time you drain the battery to a point where it won't start your engine, the battery looses one year of its life!
Car batteries are worked hardest during the winter. So if your battery is reaching the 5 year age, we advise having a battery capacity test to prevent it from suddenly failing.
Even if your battery tests good, it is wise to carry a set of jumper cables. You may be a hero and help someone who didn't get a winterization service and has a dead battery!
Is there anything I can do to extend battery life?
Here are a few tips to extend the life of your vehicle battery:
- Check and clean battery cable connections every year.
- Avoid leaving lights or radio on without the engine running and draining the battery.
- Avoid short trips in winter. The battery may not have enough time to recharge after being drained by a cold temperature start.
- Have your charging system tested once per year. A battery that is chronically under-charged will drastically shorten its life.
How can I improve my fuel mileage during the winter?
Fuel mileage will decrease in cool, wet, or snow conditions. Tires are not as flexible and don't roll as easily. Rolling resistance increases on wet and snow. Longer warmup times burns more fuel. Here ae a few things you can do to increase your winter fuel fuel mileage.
Check your tire pressure; Use lighter weight engine oil; use synthetic oil in the engine, transmission, and differentials. Synthetic oil does not thicken at cold temperatures like regular petroleum oil so your vehicle is easier the start and requires less power (fuel) to move.
Correct tire pressures provide the best traction and fuel mileage. Cold temperature causes tire pressure to decrease by as much as 1 psi (pounds per square inch) for every 10°F change shift in temperature. The difference between 80F and -10f is 9 psi... If you have ever pushed a bicycle with a flat tire you will understand why low tire pressure increases fuel consumption.
Most newer vehicles have tire pressure monitors which makes it easy to check tire pressures. Check your owner’s manual for recommended tire pressures. Different tires require different pressures and your tire pressure monitor may need to be adjusted for your winter snow tires.
How to Winterize a Vehicle
A cold-weather survival guide for your vehicle
Winter weather is hard on your vehicle. Cold temperatures, road sanding, and road-salt residue can all cause problems. Here is a winter safety checklist with some simple winter car tips, inspections, and maintenance items that will help your vehicle provide safe, reliable transportation through the winter.
Good Visibility is Vital
Clean your windshield inside and out. Replace your wiper blades. The intense summer sun hardens the wiper blade rubber causing streaks on the windshield and decreased visibility.
Use a scraper and brush to remove ice and snow from the windshield. Don't use your wipers to clear your windshield! A heavy load of snow, or if the blades are frozen to the windshield, can overload and damage the wiper motor and linkage. If your vehicle is parked outside, keep the wipers off the glass with a plastic kitchen trash bag to prevent them from freezing to the windshield. If placed over the whole wiper arm you won't have to remove ice and snow from the wiper! You can easily shake snow and ice from the bags. It is best to store the bags inside the passenger compartment to prevent making your vehicle's trunk damp.
Road grit and salt residue thrown up from other vehicles will require using your windshield washers a lot. Keep your windshield washer reservoir topped up with washer solution containing an antifreeze agent. Don't use plain water as it can freeze in the washer pump and lines.
Make sure that your vehicle's heater is functioning properly. You will need plenty of hot air to defrost the windshield. Most vehicles automatically turn on the air conditioner with the defroster. The air conditioner dehumidifies the air which speeds defogging. Don't use the recirculate mode, the cold outside air is usually dryer than the air inside your vehicle. If your vehicle has a separate AC air conditioner button, turn it on to help speed defrosting.
Finally, check that all your vehicle's lights are working and are clear of snow and ice. This ensures other motorists will be able to see your vehicle in poor weather conditions, day or night. If your headlights are hazed or fogged you should have them refinished or replaced.
Switch to Winter Tires
If you drive in slippery snow conditions it is best to replace summer or all-season tires with dedicated winter tires. Snow tires have special tread patterns and rubber compounds specially designed for best traction on slippery roads, both icy and simply wet.
It is best practice to mount winter tires on inexpensive steel wheels. It is easier to switch between the two sets of tires and will prevent your expensive alloy wheels from the damage from harsh winter conditions.
If you drive in mountains or steep road conditions, studded snow tires or tire chains may be needed. Be sure to check if tire studs and tire chains are legal in your area before purchasing.
In winter the most important part of your vehicle is the battery. Without a good battery your vehicle won't start. A weak battery will quickly fail with all the extra load of heater blower, windshield wipers, and lights. Have your battery tested as part of your vehicle's winter service.
Cold temperatures are hard on batteries. They reduce your battery's cranking power and makes battery recharging much slower. At zero degrees F your battery only has about half the cranking power it has at 80 degrees. And with the thickened oil in a cold engine makes it harder to crank over.
Here are some easy checks to make sure your vehicle battery is in good condition for winter conditions. If your battery is equipped with a battery charge indicator check that it indicates a fully charged state. You can find further information in your vehicle's owner's manual. The battery cable connections should be clean and free of corrosion.
As part of a winter service you should have the battery professionally inspected and tested. It's best to replace your battery before it fails during cold temperatures.
Use the Correct Engine Oil
Engine oil gets thick when cold. Thick oil makes it harder to crank over and start the engine placing great stress on the battery. Modern vehicles use multi-viscosity oil that is suitable for a wide range of temperatures. Some manufacturers recommend specific grades of oil for specific temperature ranges. Check your vehicle's owner's manual. We recommend you plan your oil changes so your engine has the right grade of oil at the right time of year.
In extremely low temperatures you can have an engine block heater installed. Block heaters us household electrical power to warm the engine and keep the engine oil from getting cold and thick. Contact us about our cold weather car maintenance service.
Check Your Cooling System
For most vehicles the cooling system fluid or coolant should be replaced every two years. Flushing the cooling system fluid prevents internal corrosion of cooling system parts.
The cooling system is usually refilled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. This mixture provides maximum cooling in summer, freeze protection in winter, anti-corrosion chemicals, and lubricant for the water pump seal. In extreme colder conditions coolant ratios can be 60/40 or even 70/30. If you are unsure check your owner's manual or ask us what is best for your vehicle.
Part of a Winter Service is checking the condition of coolant hoses. Cold temperature causes rubber parts to fail if the hoses are old and getting brittle. Oil contamination can also cause coolant hoses to become soft and unable to withstand the pressures found in the cooling system. We check your radiator and heater hoses for cracking, leaking, or contamination from oil or grease.
Prevent Door Freeze-ups
Water in door and trunk locks can freeze and prevent you from getting into your vehicle. Moisture on door rubber seals can freeze the door to the car body. To prevent this door seals and door locks should be treated with a silicone spray and door-lock lubricant. If locks are already frozen you can use a lock antifreeze product to free them. Never force a lock as the key can break off in the lock!
The dirt and salt of winter roads damages your vehicle's paint finish. A coat of wax and regular washing during the winter months can help protect it. If your vehicle has alloy wheels, apply a coat of wax to help prevent pitting and corrosion.
Engine Warm Up
Although modern vehicles don't need the amount of engine warm-up that vehicles in the past required, in cold temperatures it is wise to let it idle and warm up for a few minutes. Letting your vehicle idle while you brush the snow off and de-ice the windshield should be sufficient.
A brief period of warm-up time before you drive gives the oil time to heat up, thin and so it will flow more smoothly. Definitely something you want to happen before you get your engine to do any serious work.
Drive gently until the temperature gauge starts to move or until the cold engine light, usually blue, goes out. Be aware, vehicles can still overheat in winter if the radiator grille is clogged with snow.
TIP: there is no need to rev the engine during warm-up. It causes excessive engine wear. The engine will warm up just just as quickly at an idle. If your vehicle idles higher than normal when first started, waiting until the idle speed automatically drops before putting the vehicle in gear will save wear and tear on your automatic transmission. It also provides an easy guide to when your vehicle is ready to go!
If you have any questions about getting vehicle winter service near Lansing MI please contact us.
Chuck's Garage Lansing
3503 W Saint Joseph St
Lansing, MI 48917