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You may have added antifreeze to the radiator, but your car doesn’t recognize seasons. If something is going to break, it’s going to break regardless of whether it’s Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, and inclement weather conditions can lead to an increase in repair needs.
But that’s no reason to panic. With a little preparation and a few carefully selected tools, you can get the job done and enjoy a running car without freezing your digits off. Here’s what you need to do:
Have a Well-Organized Garage
Turning wrenches while exposed to the elements in a rainy driveway is downright miserable. To prepare for wintertime car projects, set time aside to organize your garage so you have enough room to park the car and move around to perform the tasks you need to. Your garage offers far better insulation than a cold driveway, too. If you invest in some good lights and a space heater, you could spend all night out there wrenching. You may also want a mini fridge then…
Wear the Right Clothes
Anytime you work on your car it’s important to dress appropriately. Some of the safety staples like eye protection and gloves remain the same. For the colder parts of the year, invest in some heated clothing that has lithium-ion batteries to keep the heat flowing. Make sure you are wearing something that can stop wind if you’ll be outdoors too.
Warm Yourself Up Regularly
It’s easy to get carried away polishing the inside of that set of wheels you’re restoring, and after a few hours you might not feel the cold anymore. However, that’s dangerous. Keep your temperature up by drinking warm liquids and step indoors every so often. Staying warm will help you move better and reduce the risk of injuries. You’ll also be less sore the next day.
Time Your Projects Well
If you allow your car to sit for days in the cold, expect some parts to seize up, making them difficult to work on. They’ll come lose under engine power, however, that makes the car too hot to work on again. So what can you do? Choose a day when you already plan to take the car for a drive, and then make your repairs shortly after you return the car to home base. That way, you’ll work on parts that aren’t too hot to touch but aren’t frozen solid.
Get a Trickle Charger
If you have project cars that don’t see frequent on-the-road use, the colder time of year can make it a challenge to keep them charged. A trickle charger for your second or third car will ensure that it starts right up when you need to run it, whether that be to go for a drive or just to re-position it for some project work.
None of these to-dos are particularly difficult, however, if you don’t put a little time in to think about what you face in the cold weather, a long day of car repairs can go terribly wrong. At best, you’ll be shivering before the night begins, and at worst an awry job could leave you injured. Take our advice, stay warm and happy wrenching!