Winter Maintenance Tips for Your Ford in Wilmette

Over 150,000 vehicle accidents happen every year due to slick winter roads, according to data. Following some vital winter care tips for your Ford’s interior and exterior can give us the confidence to handle those slippery Wilmette roads safely.

This article outlines essential fluid checks, battery care, cautious driving measures, and scheduled service needed to keep your ride running reliably despite the ice and snow.

Winter Care Guide for Ford Vehicles in the Wilmette Area

Keep Your Ford's Engine Running Smoothly This Winter

Preparing your engine for frigid Wilmette winters is vital to avoid issues like difficult starts or even stalling. Here are some key ways to winterize under the hood:
  • Check engine coolant levels monthly and fill up with winter or cold weather antifreeze formulas. These have special additives to handle subzero temps better than standard mixes. Replacing at recommended intervals protects against corrosion.

  • Change to thicker engine oil before winter hits full force. Thinner grades can lead to poor circulation and flow in cold weather, risking engine damage over time. Consult your Ford owner’s manual for the best oil weight for a Northern Illinois climate.

  • Consider adding fuel injector cleaners before winter to deter gelling and moisture buildup from temperature changes. This allows for easier cold starts. Quality additives also help clean deposits.

  • Replace air filters if over 2 years old. Cold air is denser and dirty filters further restrict airflow to the engine. Newer filters improve MPG (Miles Per Gallon).

  • Inspect belts and hoses for cracks now before they lead to failure when temps plummet. Have your Wilmette dealer or visit your local auto service shop to address any worn parts.

Prepare the Exterior of Your Wilmette Ford for Colder Temps

Ensuring good visibility and protecting exterior surfaces from damage makes winter driving safer. Here are some tips:
  • Wash your Ford often to prevent salt, grime, and chemical buildup on paint and metal that leads to corrosion over time. Waxing adds an extra layer of protection.

  • Examine windshield wipers monthly for cracking and replace inserts if worn or hardened. Winter wiper blades with protective coatings are a smart upgrade.

  • Wax or apply protective oily coatings to any exterior chrome, trim pieces, and rubber seals around doors to prevent freezing and cracks.

Manage Cold Weather Battery Issues in Your Ford

The extreme cold saps car battery life, with many needing replacement after 4-5 Wilmette winters. Avoid issues with these maintenance tips:
  • Use a portable charger to test the battery monthly or have your dealer assess. Recharge any weak batteries or replace those over 3-4 years old.

  • Disconnect the battery when leaving your Ford parked for over 1-2 weeks to conserve charge. A battery tender also works.

  • If possible, park your car in a garage to shield the battery from temperature spikes and extremes to prolong life each winter.

  • Clean any corrosion on top of the battery and on cable connections to optimize power flow, especially for cold starts.

Adjust Driving for Winter Roads in Wilmette

Wilmette winters mean slick streets and reduced traction. We must adapt driving habits for safety’s sake when road conditions deteriorate. Useful suggestions:
  • Allow 3-4 times more stopping distance on snowy, icy, or wet roads by increasing the gap behind the vehicle ahead. Brake early and gently to avoid skids. Also, add extra turn spacing.

  • Avoid abrupt acceleration, braking, or turns when roads are slippery. Any sudden changes can cause a loss of control. Make maneuvers slowly and methodically.

  • Equip your Ford with all-weather or dedicated winter snow tires for enhanced cold-weather grip, traction, and handling. This channels away more slush and water as well.

  • Load an emergency kit including tow chains, a folding shovel, sand or non-clumping kitty litter, warm gloves, a reflective vest, blankets, bottled water, and a flashlight with batteries. This prepares you for potential highway troubles far from assistance.

  • On bitterly cold days, begin braking early when approaching stop signs or intersections. Frigid temperatures reduce overall tire grip. Give yourself plenty of room to react.

  • Clear all snow and ice fully from your Ford before trips for the best visibility and safety. Don’t assume the defroster will handle it.

Maintain Safety and Comfort Inside Your Ford

Don’t overlook the vehicle systems keeping you safe and warm on the road:
  • Use washer fluid with antifreeze to help melt ice and snow buildup on windshields and maximize visibility in snow squalls. Check often.

  • Inspect all rubber belts and hoses for signs of wear, dry rot, and cracks, which accelerate in extreme cold and ice. Have damaged parts replaced promptly.

  • Test heating and defrost systems for proper operation before winter so you don’t get stranded and unable to clear windows.

  • Check tire inflation at least monthly, as frigid outside air causes gradual pressure loss over time. Low tires reduce grip and make blowouts more likely.

Schedule Seasonal Ford Service in Wilmette

Stay diligent with maintenance despite reduced winter mileage:
  • Arrange 30/60/90k mile factory-recommended service intervals upfront at your Wilmette Ford dealer to avoid issues cropping up mid-winter. Ask about needed repairs.

  • Inquire with advisors about any seasonal service specials, coupons, or winter safety packages to possibly save money on cold weather needs.

  • When at the shop, have techs conduct a comprehensive vehicle inspection, especially for essential systems like brakes, tires, belts and hoses, batteries, steering, and coolant. Identify problems early before they strand your vehicle.

Get Your Ford Winter Ready

Handling winter roads takes extra preparation to keep from slipping up. Stay on top of all the engine care, battery maintenance, exterior protection, and adjusted driving tips we covered. Address any issues ahead of time before snow hits to keep your Ford in peak shape.

For more guidance, the expert technicians here at Heart Auto Care are equipped with more Ford-specific tips plus provide comprehensive pre-winter inspections. Our knowledgeable team will assess battery life, belts & hoses, tires, fluids, and all essential systems to catch lingering problems now before you get stranded out on a snowy Wilmette road.

Give Heart Auto Care’s friendly staff a call today to schedule your Ford’s winter preparation service and tackle the cold weather ahead with confidence.

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