How to Winterize Your Car

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9310 Lima Road, Fort Wayne IN 46818

Fort Wayne Auto Repair Blog

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Here you will find FAQ's and tips on auto repair we commonly are asked about in Fort Wayne.

How to Winterize Your Car

By kruseautomo10895971, Jan 16 2019 01:22PM

Preparing your car for the winter
Preparing your car for the winter

During the winter months in Fort Wayne, the snowy conditions can combine with extremely low temperatures to cause problems with your car’s exterior, as well as inner workings. Prior to the arrival of the winter months, it is a good time to do what is necessary to protect your vehicle. This could involve completing all winterizing maintenance and more.

Wash And Wax

It’s important to make certain your car is properly washed prior to cold weather. Doing this will extend the life of its paint job. It can also help the mechanical components remain in good working order. Failure to clean out dirt can lead to a build-up of rust. This can promote fluid leaks as well as engine malfunction. Waxing a car is also an essential part of maintaining your car's paint job during the winter. This helps liquids roll off its surface.

Battery And Fluids

When a mechanical professional from Kruse Automotive performs necessary winter maintenance on your car's battery, it will help increase its lifespan. It is also important to maintain proper fluid levels in your vehicle. These fluids are essential for lubricating your car's gears as well as protecting its interior metal, engine cooling and more.

Belts And Hoses

When the temperatures in Fort Wayne drop, the belts and hoses essential to your vehicle’s operation could malfunction or squeak. Damaged belts or hoses can result in a vehicle not being able to function properly. Each fall, the belts and hoses of your vehicle should be checked by an experienced auto repair mechanic.


This is placed in a vehicle's radiator to lower the freezing point of the water being used. Antifreeze needs to be placed in a vehicle's radiator with an appropriate ratio to water. A service professional can make certain a vehicle's radiator has one part water to one part of antifreeze.

Wiper Fluid

An important item for winterizing a vehicle that is often ignored is freeze-resistant wiper fluid. This is essential to have during cold weather. It is the best way to keep a vehicle's windshield clean so a driver’s view is clear.

Snow Tires

When using a vehicle in Fort Wayne during long winter months, it may be best to change-out all four tires to snow tires. This should be done even if your vehicle is all-wheel drive. Snow tires are specialized tires. They are designed to give a vehicle more traction and provide a high level of stable driving. When the temperatures get warm, it is easy to switch back to other tires for fuel efficiency during warm weather.

Wiper Blades

When there are heavy snow and rain it can be a challenge to have a clear view out of the front window. Mechanical experts from Kruse Automotive can help replace a vehicle's wiper blades as necessary. Some vehicles need them changed every six months. Should wiper blades leave skid marks or make scratching noises, they may need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Tire Pressure

It has been estimated the pressure in a tire will decrease 1 psi for each drop in temperature. It is best to during the winter months to check tire pressure at least once a week. This can be done before going out for the day. This is especially important if a driver has an older vehicle. It won’t alert them with a dashboard warning. Mechanical experts recommend people consider purchasing a portable tire inflator and keep it with their vehicle at all times.

Treat Windows

Many drivers have made the mistake of pouring hot water onto the windshield of their vehicle to melt ice or snow. Doing this will cause immediate expansion of the glass. The heat from boiling water doesn't move through glass quickly. When used in this way, it may cause the glass to crack. It should never be done to side windows. Should the hot water get down past the window, it could result in the vehicle's power windows as well as locking system not working. It is recommended to make a solution consisting of three parts vinegar and one part water. Any type of vinegar is acceptable. This mixture should be sprayed on all of a vehicle’s windows prior to temperatures lowering. The acidity of the vinegar will decrease the buildup of frost and ice. It will make using a hand scraper much easier. It is also possible to also apply this mixture when the vehicle is defrosting. It will help speed up breaking down the ice and frost on the windows.

Engine Oil

The oil in a vehicle's engine will thicken during cold weather. This can make it a real challenge for an engine to turn over in the morning. Most modern vehicles utilize a multi-weight oil. This is acceptable for a wide variety of temperatures. There are vehicle manufacturers who suggest choosing a certain grade of oil only used when a vehicle will be operating in a specific temperature range. It's important to check your vehicle's owner's manual. It will tell you the correct grade of oil for the temperature range where you will be driving your vehicle.

Winter Safety Kit

It is important to prepare for emergency situations. It is possible during the winter to get stuck in the snow. It's also possible for your vehicle to break down and be required to wait in the cold for assistance. A winter safety kit is a good thing to have in these situations.


*Blanket, hat, leather gloves



*Containers of coolant that are safe and leak-proof

*Bag of sand or kitty litter to help if tires become stuck in the snow

*Small Shovel

*Space Blanket


Engine Warm-up

In the past, vehicles would struggle to be driven in the cold temperatures if not given a sufficient amount of time for the engine to warm up. Modern vehicles are designed to be driven in the cold weather as soon as they are started. It is still recommended to let a vehicle have a brief idle time in the winter. This will make certain the oil is heated up and thinned out so it works at peak performance.

The winter months can be hard on a vehicle. It will have to contend with road-salt residue, dirt, freezing temperatures and more. All this increases the potential for problems. With some simple checks and routine winterizing maintenance performed by a trained auto repair mechanic, a vehicle can be in top condition during the entire winter season. To schedule a winterization check of your vehicle contact Kruse Auto Repair in Fort Wayne.

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