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Winter Car Care Tips

Rahul Sharma, 01-Dec-2009

Tips 1-5

Winter Car Care

Driving to a hill station this winter? AUTO BILD INDIA brings you five tips that will help keep your trip free from trouble

India is a tropical country and majority of it faces a winter that, at best, can be described as cold. The word bitter seldom figures anywhere. Yet there are parts of the country where regular snowfall and bitter cold are indeed realities that drivers face every winter. Ice on a car’s windows, rubber hoses and seals becoming hard and brittle and freezing fuel lines are all battled in a day’s work. Here we present five tips that might make staying in or a visit to a hill station this winter slightly easier to handle.

1. De-icing the windows

De-icing the windows

In bitterly cold conditions, it is not uncommon to fi nd the car's windows covered in ice. A few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into the windshield washer tank will turn the washer fluid into a de-icing agent. If you don't have rubbing alcohol, even alcoholic beverages without sugar will do.

2. Protecting the paint

Protecting the paint

Pollutants in the air combine with early morning dew and fog to form sulphuric and nitric acids, which eat away the car's paintwork gradually. Frequent washing and a good waxing will help.


3. Hard and brittle hosing

De-icing the windows

Cold weather makes hoses and other pliable materials stiff and susceptible to cracking. Normally, they should seem rubbery and soft to touch and not hard. Be sure to check your car’s hoses and belts while you’re checking the car's radiator hoses.

4. Frozen and jammed doors

Protecting the paint

Where snowfall is regular car doors might jam because of ice formation between the rubber seals and the door. The only prevention is to lubricate the gasket with vaseline to prevent ice buildup.


5. Frozen diesel lines

On very cold mornings you might face a frozen fuel line if you have a diesel car. A gas line ntifreeze with isopropyl alcohol is a solution. Another remedy is to carry mercury vapour lamps nd light them under the fuel lines.

Routine checks for the winter months


  • Check your wipers for wear and tear and replace if worn due to excessive use in the monsoons.
  • Enough air pressure and treads on the tyres ensure good traction.
  • Concentration of coolant should be between 50 and 70 per cent.



  • Engine oil viscosity should be examined as oil thickens during winter.
  • Battery should be in prime condition for troublefree cold starts.
  • Heater and AC should be working.



Build your own winter emergency kit


  • A set of warm clothes
  • Extra water and food
  • A small hammer
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Spare windshield wipers



  • Flares (to attract attention)
  • Jump cables
  • Tool kit
  • Tyre gauge
  • Spare tyre and puncture repair kit
  • First-aid kit



Page 2

Making tyre tracks in extreme winter

While large parts of north India is engulfed in wintry fog, there are some parts that require driving on snow. Here's the lowdown on snow tyres, lights and snow chains

Winter tyres are something that will baffle most of us here in India as it’s a tropical country and extreme cold conditions are limited to selected parts of the country only. Winter tyres are designed to cope with all types of poor weather conditions, not just snow, giving greater traction on mudcovered put on the vehicle? It is safe for these tyres to be placed on vehicles when the temperature goes below zero.

The best way to distinguish between a winter and an all season tyre is to take a look at your footwear. Most would not venture out on to a snow-covered sidewalk wearing leather-soled dress shoes, but that’s exactly what happens when the car is driven on all-season tyres.

Winter tyres have special tread compounds that retain their flexibility even in the coldest temperatures and provide more traction and control. There are Silica-based micropore compounds on these tyres that provide bite through the water film and increase snow and ice traction. All season tyres have an average compound that provides good trac-tion on normal road conditions. However, when ambient temperatures reach below seven degrees Celsius, the amount of traction available from them starts decreasing as the compounds begin to harden.

Winter tyres' circumferential grooves are made wider in order to efficiently drain water and expel snow at the same time. The grooves are 25- 35 per cent deeper than that of normal tyres and thus provide better grip. They also have a high density andsophisticated spine design that help cut through the water in order for the compound to make a better contact with the road.

All season tyres have flatter tread designs that enhance good dry traction. Their shoulder blocks and groove designs are made to meet cornering, wear and all-season traction requirements. They also have less aggressive tread designs that provides more highway ride comfort, but tend to pack and not expel snow.

So where does one get these winter tyres? You can’t buy these off the shelf. All tyre manufacturers have these tyres in their profi le but you can get your hands on them only on order.

Let there be more light

Winter equals fog and longer periods of darkness equals less visibility and need for better lights. So we scoured the markets and came up with some options should you want to install fog lamps or want to upgrade to HID headlamps or want more powerful bulbs.

Leuci HID Xenon

High intensity lamps of Leuci HID conversion kit provide 300 per cent more light than a standard bulb. Their life expectancy is over 3,000 hours. The conversion kit which comes with it makes installation quite a breeze. The bulbs works at a colour temperature of 10,000K, which is pure white light. There is however only a one year warranty that is offered by the company on these lamps. PRICE Rs 9,500 (for a set)

DLAA (Fog Lamps)

There are many imported and locally made fog lights which are available at a much cheaper price than branded ones. These DLAA have a so called rainbow coating which provides an all weather refl ection. They have a projection lamp which intensifies the beam and projects it to a longer distance. The warranty on these is for six month only. PRICE Rs 1,200 (for a set)

Osram Nightbreaker

For those looking for a general upgrade on their regular bulbs, there is the Osram's Nightbreaker which offers 90 per cent more light than the prefitted OEM bulbs . Their operating temperature is at 5,000K and they come with a warranty of one year. PRICE Rs 1,800 (for a pair)

Halonix Euro Gold

The Halonix Euro Gold is a very popular choice for those looking for a more economic option. These coated bulbs provide bright yellowish light, which is said to increase visibility in heavy fog, which is all too common in some parts of the country in winter. PRICE Rs 310 (for a pair)

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