These simple tips from the pros on how to winter-proof your car will keep your vehicle in top shape, safe on the road — and save you money!
Sidestep window fog with silica packets.
Since windows fog up when there’s more humidity inside the car than out, keep a moisture absorber in your car, urges Lauren Fix, author of Lauren Fix’s Guide to Loving Your Car (Buy on Amazon, $20.99).
Fill up a sock with kitty litter or collect a few silica packets from shoeboxes and other shipped packages, and place in inconspicuous spots to soak up extra moisture and winter-proof your car.
Use less gas with more air.
Tires automatically lose air in winter, no matter how much or how little you drive, says Fix. “For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tires lose 1 to 2 pounds per square inch of air,” she explains. And that forces the engine to work harder and use more gas. “Simply keeping your tires inflated can save you up to $60 on fill-ups throughout winter.” Find your car’s recommended tire pressure on the inside of the driver’s door.
Prevent icy windows with a vinegar spray.
Temperatures forecasted to drop tomorrow? You can avoid waking up to an icy windshield by spritzing it with white vinegar tonight. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which lowers the melting point of water, stopping it from freezing. Just keep a spray bottle filled with three parts vinegar to one part water to winter-proof your car.
De-ice wipers instantly with rubbing alcohol.
To unfreeze wipers, forget about hot water, cautions Bobby Likis of CarClinicNetwork.com, as it can shatter glass.
Instead, grab rubbing alcohol and make sure it’s labeled “70 percent isopropyl alcohol,” which is the same ice-melting ingredient found in many commercial de-icers. Simply combine two parts alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle and spritz on the window and wipers until the ice loosens and begins to melt.
Keep headlights bright with a swipe of car wax.
Slush and salt accumulate on headlights, cutting night visibility by up to 30 percent. The solution: car wax!
One swipe of the stuff stops road gunk from building up for an entire month. After giving headlights a quick cleaning with soapy water, dry them with a cloth and apply one coat of clear wax to each lens. Says Likis, “It also prevents oxidation, leaving you with crystal-clear lights.”
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This story originally appeared in our print magazine.