With South Africa’s lockdown still in full force, many South Africans are spending a lot less time on the roads. Our cars are out of action most of the time and it is now more important than ever to ensure your car stays in good running condition, even when it’s not in use. Whether your car is in storage during winter or you’re just not driving as much as you used to, there are a few easy ways to help prepare your vehicle for the winter chill and protect it inside and out. Here are 5 ways to prepare your car for the winter season and ensure when you next need your vehicle it will be ready to go, saving you from the hassle and cost of expensive repairs.
While we may not experience deep snow and freezing temperatures everywhere in South Africa, winter temperature fluctuations and dryness can still pose problems for seals, oil, fuel and cooling systems in your vehicle. Here are some of the preventative measures you should take:
If your vehicle is stationary for a while, the engine oil will settle down in the sump. When oil is not running through the engine regularly, your seals will not be lubricated and may wear or become brittle, and the oil may age and oxidise. Poor fuel consumption and oil leaks can result in performance issues.
Try adding a product like Liqui Moly Motor Oil Saver to protect your engine. Liqui Moly can be added to any oil, synthetic or mineral, and it will protect your engine for over six months while also helping to improve the viscosity index, effectively thickening and regenerating the oil. There are products like this available for all types of vehicles to take care of seals in winter including motorcycle, marine, auto and even aeronautical.
If you leave fuel in dormant equipment, oxidisation from ageing will have a negative effect on the engine. To prevent this from happening you can add a petrol or fuel stabiliser to your fuel system. Whether it’s your motorbike, car, or lawn mower, pop it in the fuel tank and idle the engine for fifteen minutes to ensure it runs through the entire system. You can confidently leave your vehicle standing for more than two years, knowing that you’ll have no problems.
If you’re dealing with diesel, water forming from condensation due to temperature fluctuations is a big hazard. When fuel is left standing in fuel tanks, the area between the oil and water layer that forms becomes a perfect growth area for bacteria, fungi, yeasts and moulds. This results in irregular engine idling and can clog your filters. When there is no fuel going to the engine you can burn your injector tips, which will then need to be replaced. Diesel can also freeze in very cold winter temperatures and cause sludge in the filter. If you are in a very cold area, where temperatures go below zero overnight, you need a diesel freeze prevention product to protect your fuel from freezing at temperatures up to -10 degrees celsius. To improve mixing into the fuel or fuel oil, add it before filling up.
Bacteria multiply rapidly and can be hard to eliminate. Try adding a biocide or antibacterial diesel additive to your fuel tank as a preventative measure or to eliminate bacteria if you already have a problem. One litre of this type of product will cover 4, 000 litres of diesel, so even large diesel bowsers that take 15,000 litres or big motorhome tanks are easy to deal with.
Your cooling system needs protection in both hot and cold temperatures with a combination of antifreeze and corrosion protection products. When the correct amount of product is added to water, it prevents the cooling system from freezing up and overheating all year round.
Interior and exterior surfaces
There’s a lot than can be done on the surfaces of your car to prevent rust, cracked dashboards, gummy wiper blades and brittle rubbers caused by harsh winter conditions. Try using an interior care, leather care, or rubber care product on all the surfaces of your car to protect it through winter and beyond. Anti-corrosion products are also essential. Try using an industrial wax or our multipurpose protection spray to ensure the body of your vehicle stays in good condition.
During winter, rats are in search of a warm nest and have a tendency to seek out engines where they destroy wiring and cause other issues. This can become an expensive problem. To keep your car pest free, try using a non-toxic pheromone-based repellent spray rather than traditional rat poison. Traditional rat poison products attract rats and makes them desperate for water, which is not great when you have water in your pipes in your car. Before using a rat repellant spray, ensure you first get rid of any rat poison you have used previously before applying a repellent spray.
Whether it’s your car, lawnmower, or boat you need to store for long periods of time there are plenty of products available to help you protect your fuel, prevent bacteria and oxidation, keep your seals lubricated and prevent rust and corrosion. In the spring, when you’re ready for the open road or water and start the engine, you’ll have no issues. Prevention is definitely better than cure, so don’t wait until after the cold season to protect your engine and fuel systems.
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