Winter Storms Wreak Havoc on Unprepared Cars: Six Steps to Help Take Care of Your Car After the Winter Blast

Experts at local Valvoline Instant Oil Change℠ centers offer Six Steps to Cold Weather Care to keep you vehicle runing smoothly through the rest of the winter and into spring.

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After all this inclement weather, it's important to have vehicles checked by a certified technician. We welcome drivers to stop by one of our convenient Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers for a free winter car care evaluation."

Lexington, Ky. (PRWEB) February 18, 2014

This year’s snow and ice caused misery for many motorists, and cars took a beating. Experts warn drivers to have their cars checked out now for small winter damage that could cause problems later. As many drivers learned the hard way, sub-zero temperatures froze door locks, drained batteries and iced-up fuel lines, leaving some drivers stranded – literally left out in the cold. That’s why the experts at your local Valvoline Instant Oil Change℠ centers offer Six Steps to Cold Weather Car Care to keep your vehicle running smoothly through the rest of the winter and into spring.

“Dangerous driving conditions can weigh heavily on the systems and fluids which are vital to a vehicle’s performance,” said Matt Furcolow, vice president of operations for Valvoline Instant Oil Change, a national oil change franchise with local service centers. “After all this inclement weather, it’s important to have vehicles checked by a certified technician. We welcome drivers to stop by one of our convenient Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers for a free winter car care evaluation.”

The Car Care Council reports more than 70 percent of motorists admit they don’t prepare their cars for or after winter weather. So, from the tires to the trunk, Valvoline Instant Oil Change recommends:

Six Steps to Cold Weather Car Care

1) Check Tire Pressure
Under-inflated or worn tires are common problems that can be dangerous on slick, icy roads. In winter's lower temperatures, the air pressure will drop in a cold tire. Since air is a gas, it contracts when it cools. Low tire pressure will leave you with poor contact where rubber meets the road, increasing the risk of sliding. Tire pressure should be checked regularly and filled to the recommended level. Correctly inflated tires can improve gas mileage up to three percent.

2) Stay Fluid    
Engines work extremely hard in cold weather. The right motor oil reduces friction between moving parts and cleans away harmful dirt and contaminants in the engine. Cold temperatures can make fluids thicker and create unwanted friction. Generally, drivers should use the lightest grade of oil their vehicle manufacturer recommends for their driving conditions. During the winter, this may mean an even lighter grade than usual. The right antifreeze/coolant mix is also important in colder temperatures to keep the engine from freezing.

3) Check Filter
The engine air filter is like a vehicle's lung, helping the engine breathe as it burns fuel. When the filter gets clogged with dirt, leaves or other contaminants, the engine has to work harder to pull clean air into the cylinders, which can reduce fuel economy. Air filters should be changed every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.

4) Power Up
Cold weather is the enemy of your car’s electrical system — especially the car's battery. A weak battery is unreliable and may take longer to start on frigid winter mornings. Frigid temperatures can reduce a vehicle's battery power by up to 50 percent. Combine this with the increased power demands of defrosters, windshield wipers and heating systems, and a car battery really has to be ready to meet the brutal winter challenge. After a blast of cold weather, have the battery tested to make sure it has enough cranking power to withstand the next dip in degrees.

5) Clean Sweep
Good visibility is critical when driving, and it is often a challenge in the winter to keep a clean windshield with all the ice, snow, salt and road grime flying around. Check to see if your wiper blades streak across the glass. If so, they need to be replaced. Also check the level of your wiper fluid reservoir. Make sure the reservoir didn’t crack during the last freeze. Consider adding wiper fluid that has been mixed with a de-icer.

6) Be Prepared
Keep an emergency kit inside your vehicle during the winter. In the event you get stranded in the cold, these items will help you. Your emergency kit should contain a flashlight, extra batteries, water, flares, blankets, a small shovel, a snowbrush and an ice scraper. Kitty litter or sand can be spread under tires to get better traction on icy patches.

Other Do-It-Yourself Tips:

  • To keep car doors from freezing, rub vegetable oil on the rubber seals inside the car doors. It will keep them free of moisture that could cause freezing.
  • Keep your gas tank more than half full. Empty tanks mean more moisture, which can lead to frozen fuel lines.
  • Allow your car to warm up for five minutes before driving.
  • And when it comes to the heater, don’t touch that dial – at least not initially. Gradually go from low to high. Turning the heater on high too soon actually blows cool air to the engine, taking longer to heat up the inside of the car.

We’d love for you to interview our local car care experts about cold weather car tips. Contact us to talk with a service center rep, or we can make a pit stop in your news room.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change facilities provide a stay-in-your-car solution for preventive maintenance needs including full-service oil change, transmission, radiator, gearbox and air-conditioning services, tire rotation, wiper blade, air filter, light bulb and serpentine belt replacement. Select locations also offer fuel system and battery services.

For a list of all Valvoline Instant Oil Change service center locations and hours of operations, visit vioc.com.

About Valvoline Instant Oil Change
Valvoline™ is a brand of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH). In addition to commercial and industrial lubricants, the Valvoline family of products includes Eagle One™ appearance products, Car Brite™ car restoration products, Zerex™ antifreeze, SynPower™ performance products, MaxLife™ products created for higher-mileage engines, and NextGen™ motor oil created with 50 percent recycled, re-refined oil. With approximately 900 locations throughout the United States, Valvoline Instant Oil ChangeSM is a leader in serving the quick-lube market, and is looking for franchisee partners to establish a presence for the brand in markets across the country.

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    Ashland Inc
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