The idea of “winterizing” your Honda here in sunny south Florida may sound like an oxymoron. But the coming off the cooler winter months is the perfect time to make sure your Honda is in good working order. So, we consulted the auto service technicians at our South Florida Honda dealers for their top 10 seasonal car care tips.
(Fun fact: Did you know that the lowest temperature ever recorded in Miami, Florida was a bone-chilling 27 degrees Fahrenheit in February 1917?)
10 Winter Car Preparation Tips
1. Clean Your Honda Inside and Out
Dirt, grime, grit, bugs, tree sap, and other nasty stuff can build up on your Honda’s exterior, potentially damaging its finish. That’s why we recommend regularly washing, waxing and polishing your Honda’s exterior. This will protect the finish to keep your Honda looking new for many miles down the road.
Now, let’s turn our attention to your Honda’s interior. You should spray a vinyl protectant on exposed areas, such as doors, door handles, the center console, dash, and steering wheel (be sure to dry the steering wheel off so it’s not slippery). If you have leather seats, liberally apply a leather conditioner to prevent cracking and to keep the seats soft and supple.
Take out the floormats and use a good, stiff brush to remove deep-down dirt and debris and then vacuum. If you have rubber floormats, you can just hose them off. You can also use a stiff brush to clean the upholstery, also followed up with vacuuming.
2. Check All Engine Fluids
Fluids are the lifeblood of your Honda. So, you should be checking your fluid levels for oil, coolant, power steering, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid regularly. Be sure to do this when the engine is not running and cold to avoid injury. Consult your Honda Owner’s Manual for more information.
3. Visually Inspect Hoses and Belts
When inspecting belts, you’re looking for cracks, shiny spots, or fraying. You should also look at the underside of the belts, as well as check to see if they are loose. For hoses, look for any bulges or soft spots. Also inspect where the hoses attach to the radiator or the engine housing.
4. Do A Tire Inspection
Tire wear can not only be costly, it can be dangerous. Closely examine your Honda’s tires, looking for any gouges, cracks or bulges in the sidewall. Also look at the tire tread for signs of uneven wear. If you don’t have a tire depth gauge handy, you can insert a penny upside down into the tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires may need replacing soon. Now that it’s cooler, check your tire pressure and fill to the recommended PSI which can be found on a sticker inside of the driver’s side door.
5. Check the battery
Examine the battery for any visible signs of corrosion on the terminal posts. You can remove the battery cables and use a stiff wire brush to clean off any buildup. If you notice that your Honda is hard to start, it’s a good idea to have one of our certified Honda auto technicians test your battery and charging system.
6. Check Brakes
Do you feel the brake pedal pulsate or make a noise when you apply the brakes? Does your Honda pull to one side or the other when you come to a stop? Do you hear a constant “chirping” sound when driving which indicates brake wear? If so, these could be signs that your brakes need to be serviced at your nearest South Florida Honda dealership.
7. Inspect Wiper Blades
If you notice any streaking on your windshield when you use your wipers, it may mean that they need replacing. Inspect them for any cracks or if they are starting to separate from the wiper blade arm.
8. Examine Engine and Cabin Air Filters
A dirty air filter can affect your Honda’s performance and gas mileage. Consult your Honda Owner’s Manual for specific instructions on how to check the air filter and cabin filter on your model.
9. Visually Inspect Exterior Lights
Do a walkaround of your Honda and check to see that all lights are working properly. Note any malfunctioning bulbs and refer to your Owner’s Manual on the proper way to replace them. Or, take your Honda to one of our South Florida Honda automotive service centers and we’ll be happy to do it for you.
10. Update Your Emergency Repair Kit
Wintertime is also is a good time to make sure your emergency road kit is up to date and ready to use. Don’t have one? Our South Florida Honda parts departments have emergency road kits made exclusively for your Honda.
We Care for Your Honda 365 Days a Year
No matter what time of year, our ASE-Certified Honda auto technicians will make sure your Honda stays in top shape for years to come. Click here to schedule service at any of our 16 conveniently located South Florida Honda Dealers in the greater Miami area. Not sure which South Florida Honda Dealer to visit? Find your nearest Honda dealership here!