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Car Maintenance by Climate: What You Need to Know Before You Move

Car Maintenance

If you’re considering a big move, car maintenance by climate may not be your first priority. However, if you’re moving to a climate that differs greatly from your current region, then you’ll need to approach car maintenance differently. While your vehicle was designed to operate in different environments, moving to a new climate can have a drastic effect on the type of maintenance and equipment needed to keep it running smoothly. Here are five aspects of car maintenance by climate to consider when moving.


If you’re moving from a warm climate to a much colder one, the first thing you’ll want to consider is your coolant mixture. In warmer climates, many people use straight water in their radiators. But if you’re moving north, you’ll need to adjust that to a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze to ensure your coolant lines don’t freeze solid when the cold winter weather hits.

a car parked by a beachOil

Believe it or not, the oil you run in your vehicle can change drastically when moving from one temperature range to another. Did you know that the “W” in your oil’s viscosity means winter? For example, let’s say the rating of your oil is 10W-30. The first number (10W) represents the viscosity in winter temperatures, while the second (30) represents the viscosity at operating engine temperature. In colder climates, a lower W rating is necessary to allow the oil to flow more freely through an engine when it’s cold. A warm climate, on the other hand, is better served by a higher W number.


A vehicle’s battery can also be drastically affected by changes in climate. In colder areas, the battery has to work harder to start cold and frozen engines. As a result, batteries in cold climates see a lot more wear and tear. In warmer climates, especially dry ones, the battery acid can evaporate and degrade the performance of the battery. If you’re heading north, you may find that you need a new battery sooner. If you’re heading to a warmer, dryer spot, you will want to keep a close eye on the levels inside your battery.


When people move to snowy winter areas, they become concerned with road salt corroding their vehicles, but warmer climates can damage a vehicle’s body, as well. Your car was manufactured with an anti-corrosive coating to help protect it, so don’t fret too much. However, if you live near an ocean, where salt is in the air, you will need to be diligent about washing your car to prevent salt from eating away at your vehicle.


When you move to a new place, it may not occur to you immediately, but your car may not be fitted with what it needs to run optimally. In hot climates, you’ll need to make sure the vehicle’s air conditioning is in top shape. In colder climates, many people have engine block warmers installed on their cars to help heat the engine before trying to crank it over on a freezing winter day.

Moving to a new place, especially a new climate, can be exciting. However, your may need to adjust your vehicle maintenance and possibly even install some additional equipment.

For more information on car maintenance by climate, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Flickr.


Erich Reichert View All

Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.

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