How to Handle Winter in Your Car

Winter is a hard time of year to be a car. Whether it's poor traction on slippery surfaces, frosted-over windshields or dead batteries, there always seems to be something lurking around the corner.

Fortunately, the Houston area doesn't deal with a whole lot of winter weather, but there are typically a few days per year when conditions are less that optimal for driving. Here is how to handle it.

Check your Coolant

In some parts of the country, engine coolant is more commonly known as anti-freeze, which is amazing -- how does one product cool, but also prevent freezing? The answer is: We don't know, we're not scientists. We just know that it does, as long as there is enough of it in your engine.

Any mechanic can check this in a matter of seconds, with a tool that costs about as much as a hamburger. And if you want the ultimate peace of mind, this is what you should have done. But you can get a fairly good idea about it by just opening the radiator cap or the overflow cap and looking inside. You want it to be green. Like, greener than green tea, but not as green as toxic slime. It should look something like a new flavor of sports drink. If there is too much anti-freeze in your system, it'll slowly corrode the internals of your engine, but this is a less common problem than there being not enough, which will allow the water inside your motor to freeze.

So the point we're really trying to drive home is, if the contents of your radiator aren't green, add a mixture of 50-50 coolant-water until it is.

Get a Scraper

Windshield scrapers are not common in these parts, for obvious reasons. But if you're not used to scraping ice off your windshield, there are two major pitfalls to avoid: 1. Do not dump hot water on your frozen windshield. You will only wind up creating more ice, and that's if you don't crack the windshield in the process. 2. Don't scrape it with, say, a coffee mug or anything else that might be as hard as glass. If you do this, you will create permanent scrape marks in your vehicle's glass.

Any piece of hard, edged plastic will work, of course, but why not just spring for the ice scraper. You spend a couple bucks on it, toss it in your trunk and forget about it until you need it.

Warming up Your Car

There is nothing wrong with warming up your car, necessarily, but in modern vehicles with fuel injection and electronic ignition, it isn't really necessary for any mechanical purpose. It is, however, a decent way to defrost your glass without doing any actual work, and makes for a nice cozy roll out of the driveway, so don't let us talk you out of it.

Following Distance

Amazingly, some people do need to be told that your car will not stop as quickly on ice as it will on dry pavement or rainy pavement. So don't follow as closely as you otherwise would. Also, keep in mind wheel spin when you're not stopping, too. This is especially important when going around curves. If you're moving too fast, your front tires will lose traction, and

Maybe you're ready for a new car altogether, something with modern safety equipment, a little more ride height, perhaps? If that's the case, come see us at Honda of Clear Lake. Our friendly, professional sales staff will make finding your new car a breeze, and our lease and financing options will make getting into it easy as pie.