When most people think of Arizona, they conjure images of summer landscapes: a blazing hot sun rising over vast swathes of baked clay and cacti. That postcard perfect picture is only partially true. In reality, Arizona hosts a diverse climate that extends from the desert plains surrounding Phoenix to the ragged peaks near Flagstaff. Unbeknownst to many outsiders, the state gets its fair share of winter weather, particularly in the high plateaus and mountainous areas.
While Arizona may not be home to the most formidable cold snaps in the world—white-outs and avalanches are few and far between—it’s still important for residents to plan ahead for the inevitable trials and tribulations that come with even the mildest winters. That means pulling out the rain slickers or parkas, slipping on the gloves, and heating up the fireplace. It also means heading to the nearest car wash to check your vehicle’s fluids and prepare the family ride for the joyous season.
Why You Need to Winter-Proof Your Car
No matter where you hang your hat, you should do some routine maintenance on your car before hitting the open road during the winter months. In fact, the best time to wander into a full-service car wash to inspect your vehicle for winter-preparedness is before the start of the season, when the sun is still shining and the temperatures are still buoyant. That way you’ll be ready to go as soon as the first chill hits.
Of course, such upkeep is critical if you live in places such as Maine or Alaska. Nevertheless, it’s is also beneficial for those scattered throughout the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the relatively mild weather that prevails throughout much of Arizona lulls many residents into a false sense of security. Too many drivers overlook basic winter maintenance advice, believing the seasonal warnings don’t apply to them and their vehicles.
It does. Everything from rain and subzero temperatures to frost and snow can do a number on your car. In order to make certain you’re ready for everything Mother Nature can throw at you, heed the following tips and stop by Cobblestone Auto Spa’s full-service car wash for a full 18-point preventative maintenance inspection.
Vehicles Need Extra Care When Facing Temperature Extremes
Arizona residents have their own peculiar winter worries. While desert dwellers may not fear blizzards, they do run into sudden and severe temperature fluctuations. Just as the state can boast major variations in altitude (from over 12,000 feet at Humphrey’s Peak to less than 100 feet above sea level near the Lower Colorado River Valley), the temperature has also been known to oscillate 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the course of a single day.
Although the summer months experience the most extreme volatility, winter also brings its fair share of highs and lows, leading to particularly chilly temps between sun up and sun down. In fact, it’s not unusual for masses of cold air to migrate southward from Canada, carrying below-freezing blasts to the mountains and high plateaus that line the northern and central portions of the state.
Unfortunately, people and pets aren’t the only ones who struggle to adapt to nature’s wild mood swings. Cars also have difficulty adjusting to extreme highs and lows. Too much heat and a vehicle can overheat. Too much cold and the engine block can freeze, leaving you and your merry band of travelers stuck in the middle of a long, isolated stretch of highway with nothing but a prayer and a cell phone. If you don’t want to flag down semis on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere, read through these handy tips for dealing with cold weather:
Antifreeze to the Rescue – Whether you’re facing sweltering heat or numbing cold, the solution is the same: antifreeze. Also known as coolant, for its ability to cool the engine down in times of great heat, antifreeze prevents the fluids and machinery in your car from suffering cold shock. Ensuring that your vehicle has enough antifreeze should, therefore, be on the top of your winter preparedness priority list.
Checking the Antifreeze – There are two ways to check the antifreeze levels in your car. The first option is to do it yourself by popping the hood and looking at the radiator to see if the fluid comes up to the “full” line on the coolant reservoir. If you really want to be thorough, use a tester to inspect the freezing point of your fluid. The mixture should be half and half—half distilled water and half antifreeze. The other option is simply to search for a “full-service car wash near me” and get the professionals at Cobblestone Auto Spa to do the dirty work for you.
Oil Is Your First Defense – Oil is the lifeblood of your car. In good times and bad, in mild and extreme conditions, it keeps your vehicle up and running so you get to your destination safe and sound. As important as it is during the balmy days of spring and summer, oil can be even more critical during the cold season. In fact, it’s your first line of defense when you’re facing a cold-start.
Changing the Oil – Getting the oil right is not just about quantity; it’s also about quality. Multi-weight oils, for example, tend to handle low temperatures better than other types of oil. The quickest way to check and change your oil is to point your car in the direction of the closest car wash. The good news is that the experts at Cobblestone Auto Spa carwash provide professional oil change services for summer pilgrims and winter travelers alike.
No Charge, No Go – Not many people know that temperature extremes can also affect a car’s battery. Indeed, cold snaps can put a great deal of strain on batteries, forcing them to work even harder to squeeze out each extra volt of power. That means a battery that performs splendidly in the halcyon days of spring may struggle to get you through the dark days of winter.
Inspecting the Battery – You should never inspect your car’s battery by yourself. Rather, you should do yourself a favor and call on the professionals (who know what to look for and how to look for it) before autumn ends.
Prepare for the Rainy Day Blues and the Icy Morning Chills
Cold temperatures aren’t the only winter worry for Arizona residents. Just as troubling are the twin perils of snow and ice. While high altitudes are particularly susceptible to such road hazards, the lower desert areas are by no means exempt. Of course, rain can be just as perilous if you’re caught off guard. The following tips will help you prepare your vehicle for slippery roads, frosty windshields, and seasonal showers.
Brakes Are Priority #1 – Whether you’re facing rain, ice, or snow, you’ll need to make sure your brakes are in working order. In fact, faulty brakes may be the single biggest threat to winter travelers. Icy roads and slippery highways are tough in the best conditions, but they become extremely dangerous if your brakes aren’t in tip-top shape.
Inspecting Your Brakes – Brakes, like batteries, are not for amateurs. Only a professional can inspect your vehicle to ensure everything is working properly.
No matter where in Arizona you live, or even if you’re a pilgrim visiting the Grand Canyon state during the winter holidays, Cobblestone Auto Spa can help you prepare your vehicle for the cold months. With locations throughout the state, from Chandler and Gilbert to Mesa and Phoenix, we’ll make sure you’re ready to hit the open highways of the desert plains and the winding roads of the winter slopes in no time.