Time for the Shift: Are You Ready for Winter Driving?

Time for the Shift: Are You Ready for Winter Driving?

Along with the winter season comes snow, sleet and below freezing temperatures – all of which bring challenges to everyday life. Drivers can avoid the last-minute cold temperature panic by getting ahead of the weather and preparing vehicles for what’s ahead.

Whether you’re driving your diesel vehicle for business or pleasure, treating your vehicle with care is important for the longevity of your vehicle and safety on the road, and a large part of that care is your choice in fuel. In today’s busy world, we’re always looking for ways to be more effective and efficient. You want to avoid vehicle malfunction at an inopportune time at all costs.

Below are tips from the ExxonMobil Synergy Diesel Efficient™ team to prepare for winter:

1. Get a head start before cold weather arrives

Take the necessary steps to get your vehicle ready before wintery conditions occur. A vehicle’s battery life can be affected by seasonal changes, especially when the temperature goes from the lingering warm days of fall to extremely cold. Your battery has to work harder than usual to start your vehicle in cold temperatures, and a vehicle doesn’t always give warning signs before the battery is about to fail. To help prevent this, you should make sure the battery cables are tight and free of corrosion and proactively get your battery tested before the cold temperatures arrive, especially if the battery is more than 4 years old.

2. Winterize your vehicle

Depending on where you live, cold weather can have different meanings. For those that will experience a harsh winter, you should “accessorize” your vehicle appropriately to ensure a safe winter on the road. Whether it’s windshield wiper blades specific for winter conditions or winter tires, these winter accessories can make a big difference if it’s foggy, hailing, heavy snowfall or even just below freezing temperatures.

Working windshield wipers are critical during the winter as well as regularly “topping-off” your washer fluid with fluid that’s formulated for winter conditions– don’t get stuck with a frozen windshield washer tankful of 32-degree summer fluid when you hit cold weather! Beware that some “all season” washer fluids sold in the summer, and particularly in the south, are only formulated for 25 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, where it will freeze immediately if you don’t replace it before traveling to colder regions. Look for the 0 or -20 degree fluids to be safe. Besides that, even just one heavy snowfall can be hard on your wipers and consume mass amounts of washer fluid, so make sure you are prepared.

If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, winter/snow tires can be a worthwhile investment for your safety. Winter tire compounds resist hardening at low temperatures and provide a significant upgrade in cold weather grip and braking compared to summer or all season rubber. Remember that four-wheel drive can help your vehicle put power to the ground and pull away in slippery conditions, but it doesn’t help with breaking – your tires are the deciding factor when you need to stop in a hurry on an icy road. Taking a few additional safety measures to prepare your vehicle for wintery conditions can save you time, stress and money in the end.

3. Maintain your vehicle

Ensure you’re maintaining your vehicle throughout the winter, from the air in your tires to a regular car wash. In addition, the tire thread should always be up to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You should regularly check the air pressure in the tires, because cold temperatures can decrease the air pressure, which can adversely impact tire wear and vehicle handling. Many don’t realize that the spare tire also has a life expectancy, and the environment can effect that, so check that the spare is inflated and that it hasn’t developed dry rot, rendering it unsafe. 

To prevent the common “winter corrosion,” you should regularly wash your vehicle and focus on the undercarriage. Washing your entire vehicle will protect the paint as well as remove road salt and prevent corrosion under sediment, which can wear through the protective coatings. This will help prevent premature failure of key chassis components.

4. Understand the importance of cold-weather treatments

To take the best possible care of your diesel vehicle during the extreme cold, you should understand the science behind diesel fuel and the impact of cold weather. All diesel fuel inherently contains paraffin wax. At low temperatures, the wax forms solid crystals that separate from the rest of the fuel. These crystals grow as the temperature falls and can eventually plug filters or gel the fuel. This in turn results in fuel starvation of the engine, causing a loss of power and eventually stalling. To prevent this, the diesel fuel should be supplemented for cold weather operability (i.e. No. 1 and No. 2 ULSD blend or contain a cold flow improver) in an effort to prevent any extreme low-temperature operability issues.

Look for a pre-blended winterized diesel fuel, such as Synergy Diesel Efficient from your nearest Exxon or Mobil station, that will give you the year around benefits of Synergy Diesel Efficient – improved fuel economy and engine protection – and help your vehicle to remain fully operational in low temperatures. The cold flow improver (winter technology) is injected directly into the fuel to help ensure precise consistency, quality and performance as it enters fuel tanks – giving you peace of mind while on the road this winter.

*Disclaimer: Synergy Diesel Efficient claims are based on internal and third-party vehicle engine testing, laboratory testing, and/or industry or other scientific literature. Basis for comparison for all claims is versus diesel without additive. Vehicle type, engine type, driving behavior and other factors also impact fuel and vehicle performance, emissions and fuel economy. Synergy Diesel Efficient may be used in heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles but results may vary.

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  1. Girl we've been winter driving since the beginning of Nov! Ugh. These are really good tips though to keep in mind though.

    1. WOW!!!! Michelle wants it to snow here so badly.

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