Windshield washer fluid can freeze as well, even if it is blue in color. There are different grades of windshield washer fluid available, and they are rated by temperature. Nearly all washer fluid is blue in color, but that doesn’t mean it will not freeze. Be sure to read the label on the windshield washer fluid you put in your washer reservoir, and be sure it will not freeze at the temperatures you expect where you will be storing your car. Water, of course, will freeze and should not be used as washer fluid during Winter months.

A good quality car cover is another way to protect your car’s finish while it is being stored -- whether inside or outside. Care should be taken however, regarding covering a car that will sit outside in windy conditions. Even if a car cover is soft, wind can cause it to rub the paint, and over time this rubbing can cause paint defects. So if you’re storing your car outside, be sure to use a high-quality, tight fitting car cover. If stored inside, a looser fitting car cover or even sheets or quilts can be used to cover your Mopar. Regardless of the cover used, a good coat of wax prior to storage will also help ensure your car’s paint survives the Winter and looks its best when the car is brought out of storage in spring.

Pests can be a problem when storing your car, especially in areas where the temperature varies between below freezing and above freezing. Insects can infest your car, and rodents and small animals love to find cozy corners where they can nest. There are a couple of easy ways we’ve found to prevent critters and insects from taking refuge in your Mopar. First, make sure your windows and vents are shut, and any holes in your car’s floors or gaps in weather-stripping are plugged up. Next, covering the exhaust pipes will not only keep pests out, but also prevent moisture from entering the exhaust and engine via open exhaust valves. Last, we’ve found moth balls a good way to keep insects and furry creatures away from your car during storage. Moth balls are especially effective against insects, but animals also don’t like the scent and stay away. Just a couple of bowls of moth balls inside and around your car can keep pests out for many months.

You may think that many of these precautions aren’t necessary if your car is stored in a climate controlled environment, and you could be right. But remember, Winter storms can knock down power lines, causing power failures, and eliminating the controlled climate you counted on to preserve your vehicle. So even if you have a heated garage, adhering to the advice offered here will ensure your vehicle stays in great shape, even if the power goes out.

Driving During Winter

Many of us drive our collector vehicles at least on a limited basis during the Winter months, and some of us only have one vehicle so we have to drive it year-round. And if you plan to drive your vehicle during the Winter you should abide by many of the same precautions as you would if storing the vehicle, with some important additional considerations.

During Winter, a car’s engine will run cooler due to the colder ambient air, so there are a couple of changes you might want to make. Using engine oil with a lower viscosity rating will not only offer better flow, and better protection during Winter months, it will also provide easier cold starts. We know that 20W50 engine oil is a popular choice for summer months, but during the Winter you should consider switching to 10W30, or even lighter viscosity engine oil.

During summer months, keeping the engine cool can be a problem, so we often choose to install a 160 degree thermostat. During the Winter, a car’s cooling system may cool the engine too well, not allowing the engine to achieve proper operating temperature. An engine that won’t warm up not only risks engine damage, but also makes for an uncomfortable ride as the heater won’t warm the cabin of the car. For Winter driving, try installing a 195 degree thermostat, and even covering a portion of the radiator with cardboard to block cold air from passing through it.

Driving during the Winter often subjects a vehicle to ice, snow, sleet, and freezing rain, as well as salt and sand that road crews use to keep the roads passable. All of these elements can take a toll on a car, especially the wheels and bottom side of the car, but there are precautions that can minimize or prevent damage. If you have a nice set of wheels on your Mopar, you should consider replacing them with a “beater” set of steel wheels for the Winter months. Also, be sure to rinse your car with plenty of fresh water on days when it is warm enough, rinsing away the salt and grime caused by Winter driving. Many self-serve car washes in the northern states offer heated water, and the two or three bucks is money well spent to keep your car clean during the Winter.

Lastly, if you plan to drive your Mopar during the Winter you should seriously consider carrying a blanket, some drinking water, extra gasoline, and an ice scraper as minimum safety equipment. No matter how well your Mopar runs, you can never tell when you’ll have a mechanical issue, or simply get stuck in the snow or ice. Having extra gas can keep the car running (and heat working), and a blanket and drinking water will increase your odds of surviving an extended stay in the snow. As for the ice scraper, that one is self-explanatory. Of course we’ve been known to use a cassette case to scrape ice, which shows our age. A CD case might work just as well, but we can’t guarantee how well an iPod works to scrape ice from your windshield. From all of us at Mopar Muscle, happy motoring and we hope to see you and your Mopar next spring!

925 Tower Ave.
WI  54880
Driven Racing Oil
Optima Batteries
5757 N. Green Bay Ave.
WI  53209