Winter has arrived, and with it has come the time to take extra care of your muscle car. It is high time you start thinking about preserving and protecting your prized vehicle from winter’s harmful elements. After all, freezing temperatures, snow, the extra moisture in the air, and salt on the roads is not a good sign for any vehicle, let alone your muscle car.
So, what should you do to safeguard your favorite automobile from this brutal season? Well, you don’t have to worry too much. We have compiled a short list here to help you out on this endeavor. If you follow these tips to the tee, your muscle car will never be harmed in the winter season.
1. Buy Winter Tires
If you have been looking to change the tires on your vehicle, winter is probably the best time to do so. That’s because the roads in winter are very slippery and the only thing preventing you from going sideways in such tricky conditions is a fresh set of all-weather tires. The good thing is that these tires will stay relevant even when the season changes and you enter the summer season. So, you don’t have to buy different tires for different seasons.
But if winter in your area consists of a lot of rain/hail/snow days you are better off with a set of winter tires. These badboys are tailor-made for icy conditions, and they provide you with more grip than usual, thanks to the deeper and more complex tread pattern.
You get a fresh set of tires for the winter, and you pretty much ensure getting home safely every time.
2. Get Anti-Freeze Coolant/Fluid
When the temperature goes below freezing, the fluids inside the car also get affected. The engine coolant and the wiper fluid, for example, are the most at risk and it is your job to prevent them from freezing solid.
What do you do? Well, you buy some anti-freeze engine coolant and use that instead of the regular kind. The one made for winters is designed to withstand extremely cold temperatures and allow the coolant to do its job, keeping the engine temps in check. The same goes for the windshield wipers. If this fluid doesn’t freeze you can use it to clean the windshield and not worry about damaging it in the process.
However, keep in mind that the anti-freeze solution should be diluted with water in the right quantity. Experts suggest going with 50% water and 50% anti-freeze to get the ideal results. And if you need to top up the levels during the season, ensure you are keeping the ratio in mind and not overdiluting the mixture.
3. Check the Battery
Car batteries don’t do too well in the winter, especially if they are more than three years into their life. It would do you and your muscle car good if you replace the old battery with a new one before the cold weather starts to affect its performance. After all, the last thing you would want is to have a dead battery early in the morning while the temperature is below freezing.
Also, if you currently use a lead-acid battery, it is time to switch to a zero-maintenance lithium car battery. The latter might cost more, but it hardly ever fails, and you don't ever have to worry about maintaining it throughout its life. Plus, muscle cars require a bit more oomph to kick-start their heavy-duty engines, which a lithium battery happily provides.
4. Purchase Winter-Spec Engine Oil
Have you ever bought engine oil and wondered about the numbers and letters mentioned on the packaging? Well, they are not just for show, but they actually have a meaning and purpose.
The 5W-30 on the engine oil container means the lubricant's viscosity ranges from 5 in the winter to 30 in the summer. The ‘W’ conveniently stands for winter. So, the lower the number beside the 'W', the easier it will be for the lubricant to run through the engine. In other words, the oil will be less viscous or ‘thick’ in cold weather.
Normally, a 5w-30 or a 5w-40 can do the trick for your muscle car, regardless of the season. However, if you live somewhere where the temperatures are consistently below freezing, you should consider going for 0w-20 or something similar. It is best practice to consult the user manual that came with your vehicle because no one knows better than the manufacturer.
5. Inspect Lights and Reflectors
During the winter, you would expect to use a lot of the lights and reflectors on your car to see clearly and to be visible to others on the road. Therefore, before the season starts, you should inspect the headlights, fog lights, taillights, the DRLs (if your car has them), and reflectors.
If you feel the lights are dimming and they are not properly illuminating the front or back, you should think about changing the bulbs to be safe.
6. Look into Rust Protection
The roads are quite perilous during the winter season, especially after it snows or rains. The water/moisture on the road freezes up due to the temperatures, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles.
To prevent this, the municipality sprinkles salt on the roads. The salt prevents ice from forming, making it easier for drivers to drive.
However, salt mixed with water is never too good for your muscle car. The lethal mixture promotes corrosion which is like cancer for your vehicle. When it gets stuck to the undercarriage, there is no way to prevent rust from eating up the metallic body. So, you should consider getting rust protection for your muscle car right before the winter season starts.
This way your car will stay safe, and you won't have to worry about corrosion damaging the body.
7. Check Tire Pressure
The tires tend to lose pressure during cold weather, which is not ideal when you are already battling tricky driving conditions. You should keep an eye on the tire pressures and fill them with air whenever you see them going flat.
If the problem persists, you should check for a puncture and go to the nearest tire shop to get a thorough inspection.
8. Top Up the Gas Tank
A full tank of gas and a bottle of sta-bil gas treatment prevents the buildup of moisture inside and it also protects the fuel pump from freezing. Therefore, you should always try to keep it full to the brim and avoid leaving it empty for too long. That's because the water inside the tank dilutes the fuel, and that directly affects your car’s performance.
The contaminated fuel would affect the fuel injectors, the spark plugs, and the entire combustion chamber. As a result of which, you would have to spend a hefty sum at a workshop to fix all these issues.
9. Maintain Storage Temperature
If you are looking to park your muscle car for the winter, you should consider a few things like finding the right storage space and maintaining the storage temperature. Your vehicle can tolerate the coldest temperatures, but ideally you would want to store your muscle car under 70 Fahrenheit. Moreover, humidity levels between 40% to 50% are ideal. Anything past that and your muscle car could be in serious trouble.
10. Get a Winter Car-Kit
If you are driving within the city, you shouldn’t worry about carrying a winter survival kit. However, if you are planning to go on a trip you should think about investing in one.
A standard kit includes a space blanket, flashlights, a shovel, water bottles, a backup battery, a mobile charger, some snacks, and a high-visibility vest.
You might not need all these items, and we wish you don't ever have to use them, but you should always have them in the trunk, just in case.
That’s about it!
Follow these tips religiously and we guarantee you won’t ever have to face troubles driving your muscle car during winter.
Also, if you enjoyed our blog, be sure to visit our Shop Today, that’s filled with amazing muscle car items for you and your friends.