Freezing Your Winter Car Spending: What Can Wait Until Spring

February 27, 2018

Many holidays hit the pocketbook in winter, and we can’t blame you for wanting to save what you can until birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. We don’t often say this about car repair, but these minor things can probably wait until the weather warms up a bit.

This article is part of a pair with Thawing Your Wallet: What Can’t Wait Until Spring. In our opinion, these are things that can wait a little longer and probably won’t impact your driving experience too much. If you’re taking your car on a trip, don’t skimp. The last thing we want is for our readers to get stranded on the side of a snow drift.

Rust

Let’s face it. Unless your vehicle is at unsafe levels of rust already, it’s not going to hurt it to wait until next year to grind down this year’s rust too. While we don’t recommend that you drive a vehicle with unsafe levels of rust, most people are already well aware of what “unsafe levels of rust” looks like.

It doesn’t hurt to give your car a quick once over to make sure no important bolts, bearings or nuts are rusted to the point of no return, but general body rust can wait until next year. Just don’t make a habit of it.

Minor Cooling System Problems

If your vehicle is overheating, this is not a minor cooling problem. A minor cooling problem is a pinhole leak in your cooling system which requires you to occasionally top off the coolant reservoir. If at any point your vehicle starts overheating, abort this entire bit and run to your nearest mechanic for help.

However, most small leaks will “seal up” over winter or can be sealed with a quickie sealant additive. Why? Because your vehicle will generally run a little cooler, longer, when the temperatures dip so low in the winter. That doesn’t mean that you can get away with running an overheating car, but it does mean that the pinhole leak might disappear until your car gets heated up for a long period of time.

Incredibly minor cooling system problems can wait until spring, but don’t wait much longer than that and if possible, get them somewhere to get help sooner rather than later. A blown engine or headgasket is incredibly expensive.

Minor Body Work

Much like rust, you’re going to see a lot of little fender benders during the winter due to inclement weather and road conditions. They’re generally not anybody’s fault in particular- they just tend to happen at this time of year. Therefore, you may want to go ahead and wait until spring to get that new, cool paint job that you’re drooling over. It’s probably not worth doing when you’ll have to touch it up come spring, anyway.

This, of course, is irrelevant if your car is in very poor condition. Safety should always come first and if your body work involves replacement of major vehicle parts, please go ahead and get that out of the way when the snow is still knee deep.


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