Last week we talked about batteries and why it’s important to get them checked for charge and replaced before winter hits. I checked my battery and the charge was good. There was no corrosion on the battery terminals. If you see white/greenish deposits on your battery, it is best to clean it off. Ask your mechanic to clean the battery terminals for you. They also add a protective coating to prevent corrosion from occurring. Corrosion can cause a bad connection for the battery and it will not start the car.
Next, I want to address windshield wipers and windshield washer fluid. Winter is perhaps the most important time to check wipers and fluid. As we know, winter causes snow and morning dew to freeze to the windshield. Also salt and sand placed on the roads to prevent freezing loves to stick to our car and windows. How do we remove it? With an ice scrapper/snow brush and your windshield wiper system.
Here are some tips to make sure our windshield wiper/washer system is ready for winter.
1. First thing, do the wipers work? If they do not, have them fixed right away. If they are not turning on or operating properly, the car may need a new wiper motor or have an electrical issue.
2. Have worn wipers replaced before snow and ice come. My biggest pet peeve of driving with sand or salt on the ground is all of it kicked up on my car and windshield. I feel like I’m constantly using my wipers and washer fluid so I can see to drive. Wipers that are worn, skipping, squeaking, streaking on the windshield or my favorite yet, splitting from the wiper arm, need to be replaced asap. The last thing you want is to drive down a highway with a white salty windshield you cannot see through. Oh, it’s happened to this auto airhead before. Kinda scary. Replacing wipers is relatively quick and easy to do with practice. Ask your mechanic to show you how to replace them. Then practice a few times so you can do it yourself!
Side note *I also like to use my wipers and washer fluid WITH my ice scrapper to HELP remove frozen dew from the windshield in the morning. Please do not use your wipers to remove snow or heavy ice from your car’s windshield. I’ve had customers who broke the wiper motor, which allows the wipers to move, because the motor could not push through all the heavy snow. This equates to $$ you didn’t need to spend.
3. Make sure there is windshield washer fluid in the washer fluid reservoir. The washer fluid reservoir is located under the hood and is most likely on the passenger side of the car. Almost all washer fluid is blue, but some are orange, pink and I’ve even seen purple. Check the level of the washer in the fluid. If it is low, add fluid to the reservior by simply removing the lid and pouring in washer fluid. You can find washer fluid anywhere from gas stations, grocery stores, to dollar stores. Do not use liquid soap or water.
4. Since we are talking about fluids, make sure the proper washer fluid is in the washer reservoir. There are mainly two types of washer fluid; summer blend and winter blend. Summer blend has some extra additives to help remove bugs and tar from the windshield. However this type of fluid tends to freeze in the winter. Last winter, one of the coldest and snowiest on record in Philadelphia, I had numerous customers calling about frozen washer fluid. If you use the summer blend in the summer, you should have it drained out and replaced with a winter blend. The winter blend washer fluid label will say “DE-ICER”. Draining washer fluid is relatively easy and cheap for your mechanic to do.
If you have more questions about how to care for your windshield washer system, sign up for a Girls Auto Clinic Workshop (Philadelphia area). If you would like to schedule a Girls Auto Clinic workshop, contact me.Related Articles I Know You’re Not Ready For Winter, But At Least Your Car Will Be! Don’t Ignore This Dashboard Light! Are You A #sheCANic?