5 DIY Winter Garage Projects For Car Lovers
Winter isn’t the most inspiring time of year, but that doesn’t mean your car hobby has to take a back seat to life’s responsibilities. As long as you have a garage and an appreciation of all things auto, you can still explore your passion when the weather leaves a lot to be desired.
Check out five do-it-yourself winter garage projects to keep your car in great condition so you will be ready to rip up the pavement come springtime. As an added bonus, all of the following activities serve as a great distraction to fend off cabin fever.
Add Windshield Washer Fluid
Starting off with an easy job for your daily car is the best way to get into the spirit of winter projects. When you think about it, do you even know the last time you poured windshield washer fluid into the reservoir?
Pop the hood, grab a bottle of windshield wiper fluid, and pour the solution up to the fill line.
It seems like a menial task, but drivers use the most windshield washer fluid during the winter months. If you drive regularly this time of year, you are likely pulling the windshield switch more often to release the fluid that helps loosen ice and dirt that’s impairing your view of the road.
Once you’ve filled it up, you’ll be ready to move on to another job we often forget about it.
Switch Out Air Filter
Take one look at the photo above and it’s enough to make you feel dirty. Nobody wants to inhale contaminants, and your daily’s engine wants to remain free from debris.
Instead of letting a mechanic overcharge you for a replacement filter, do a little research to find a correct air filter replacement that matches your model. Once you have a new one ready to go, take the time to switch them out for added peace of mind behind the wheel.
If you need help figuring out how to perform the swap, the following video from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts is quick and easy to follow.
After the new filter is in place, you can breathe easy knowing clean air will be distributed to the engine, which ultimately helps with performance.
Inflate Tires & Inspect Tread
Did you know that tires lose air pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature? If not, you now know the culprit behind that low tire pressure warning that always seems to nag you on the coldest days of the year.
Use an air pump to fill the tires to the manufacturer’s specifications, which is typically 32-35 psi for most passenger cars. The following Howcast video makes it easy to understand the best way to check tire pressure with a tire gauge and add air appropriately.
While you’re focused on the tires, it’s not a bad idea to inspect the tread for signs of wear and tear. Bald tires don’t provide the traction you need on icy roads so it’s best to do a little trick called the penny test.
Stick a penny into the tire tread with Honest Abe’s head facing down. If the top of the 16th president’s head is covered, your tread is still in a reasonable place. If any portion of Lincoln’s head is visible, your tire should be replaced.
Fast & Efficient Oil Change
Instead of taking your car in for an oil change, you can easily perform this task yourself. Doing so will give you a sense of accomplishment while saving you a few bucks in the process. It also doesn’t hurt to avoid another sales pitch about the benefits of using fully synthetic oil when you know in your heart that your car doesn’t need it.
Before you get started, make sure you have the following equipment:
You might think that you need a car lift in order to perform the job but that’s not true. While a car life will make it easier to get underneath, jack stands will provide the clearance you need to get under there with your drain pain.
In order to get a visualization of the best way to change your motor oil, check out the following video from 1A Auto. While every model is different and some would, in fact, benefit from having fully synthetic oil, the elements of the tutorial are universal for most passenger car types.
Now you know that you are fully capable of changing the oil in your car yourself, so you’ll never have to rely on your local quick-service shop to do it for you.
Work On A Project Car
We saved the best winter garage project for last and we did it for a good reason. A project car can be a classic model like the Ford Fairlane you see above. Alternatively, you can work on improving a car you plan to drive regularly. The amount of time and level of dedication is entirely up to you, and that’s the beauty of this winter garage project.
Last year, we spent seven episodes working on a red 2003 Nissan 350Z. We called the series Revving Up, and we turned the ride into a combo daily driver and weekend track car.
We’ve taken the Z with us to events throughout 2021 and we will be giving it away to one lucky follower of the STA-BIL® and 303® brands in 2022. Obviously, we don’t anticipate you throwing all your hard work away, but that’s the joy of a project car.
You can completely rebuild it. You can make small tweaks. And you can decide whether you will enjoy the fruits of your labor or if you’d rather make a buck by selling it to someone else who will appreciate it.
Do you have any other car projects you like to take on during the winter months? Let us know in the comments because we are always looking for interesting ways to prep cars for springtime. Until then, we’ll be dreaming of warmer days where we can roll the windows down and turn the tunes all the way up!