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Main: 866-277-0159 Service: 866-312-0166 Parts: 866-418-5048
Main: 866-277-0159
Service: 866-312-0166
Parts: 866-418-5048

Winter Car Care Tips - Joe Cotton Ford your Local Ford Dealer - Chicagoland


Well the temperatures have dropped, and we know winter is here to stay for a while. We know cold, ice, snow and slush come along with this Chicago winter season, but it doesn’t mean your car has to be in the deep freeze until the spring.

Consider these winter car care tips, from Joe Cotton Ford, for helping you prepare your vehicle for the cold and handling the inclement weather once it hits. Be prepared Chicagoland, don't get stranded out in the cold this winter.


1. Get Your Car Tuned Up


Before winter arrives it's important to make sure your car is in working order. Winters in Chicagoland with thier extreme temperature changes can affect your car. From basic tasks to those that you may want a mechanic to handle, these are a few maintenance items you'll want to check.


Before you find yourself stranded in snow or ice, you should have your mechanic make sure to check that your cooling system is in working order, ensure your battery is charged and look at your vehicle's hoses to make sure that the rubber is in good shape.

Your vehicle's battery is especially hard hit when the mercury plummets. Cold temperatures reduce its cranking power. In fact, at about 0° F, a battery has only about half the cranking power it has at 80° F.

To check a conventional battery, remove the plastic caps on the top and check the fluid level. (See your owner's manual.) If the fluid is low, add distilled water. On maintenance-free batteries, check that the window at the top of the battery indicates a fully charged state. If it's more than five years old and shows signs of weakness, replace the battery with a top-rated model.


You can have the battery professionally tested at Joe Cotton Ford. A tired battery may just need to be charged. But if it's defective or just worn out, it's best to replace it before it goes completely dead. Schedule an appointment now.

2. Check Your Tires

Spinning out in the snow and ending up in a ditch isn't the best way to discover your tires are worn out. So if you've been waiting to pick up a new set of tires, don’t delay as your safety depends on tire traction and winter-grade tires tend to be in short supply when the snow begins to fall. Even if your tires are in good shape, make sure that you keep them properly inflated. Not sure if your tires are ready for winter?

Schedule an appointment today.

Big drops in temperature mean your tires will lose air, because tire pressure declines with the thermometer. Tires can lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Low tire pressure can dangerously affect your car's handling and your tire life, so it's important to keep your tires properly inflated. Even if your tires are in good shape, make sure that you keep them properly inflated. 

We are your local NitroFill dealer in Chicagoland. Want to hear about the benefits? Visit our NitroFill information page.



3. Check Your Fluids

     Coolant: Be sure you have the coolant filled to the maximum line and that you have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to keep your fluid from freezing. Your owner's manual will have the information on what your vehicle needs, or come in and we can check it for you!

     Oil: Because oil's viscosity is affected by cold temperatures you may need to consider switching to a winter-grade oil. Your engine's oil becomes thinner as temperatures rise, so in warmer climates a thicker oil will help keep your engine properly lubricated. For the same reason, heavier oils aren't as effective in the cold.

Check your owner's manual or give us a call 630-384-6550 to be sure you're choosing the right kind!

     Wiper Fluid: This is definitely a fluid you shouldn't forget about. Before freezing temperatures hit, switch to a freeze-resistant wiper fluid so you'll be sure to always have a clear view! Keep some extra in the trunk, if you are anything like me, I use it to clear the ice off, so I use a lot of it.

4. Check Car's Exterior 

Check to ensure headlights are in working order, then check how clean your lens are. There are kits to clean your lens with but you can also use soap & water then use toothpaste with baking soda, make sure to use with plenty of water. Check online for DYI sites or Pinterest. 

Make sure the windshield wipers are in working condition. Windshield wipers are cheap and easy to replace but are one of the most important items when driving in a snow or ice storm. They areconstantly subjected to the elements, so it's important to replace worn or dried-out wiper blades regularly to maintain visibility.  Here is another tip to use all your single socks that have lost their mates.  First, make sure to prop up your wiper blades so they don't stick to your windshield during a storm. Second, place the old socks over each blade to prevent ice build up. Throw them in the glove box afterwards and see if both come out next time or if one disappears like the dryer.

If you have problems with you car doors freezing up, you can help prevent that with some cooking spray. This can be helpful if you need to keep your car outdoors for an extended time, a storm is coming or if you live in Chicagoland. Second tip, sounds crazy but hand sanitizer on your keys will help your locks quickly melt if they get ice inside them. WD-40 always helps prevent ice from building up inside your locks.

Couple other tips to help in the winter, wrap your car's side mirrors in plastic bags. Grocery or ziplocks will work with a rubberband. If your car has to be outside overnight in the storm at least your mirrors won't be covered in ice. This one sounds like common sense or Grandma would of told you but if you can park your car facing east, let the sun do a little work in the morning for you.

5. Create a Winter Emergency Kit

You may already have an emergency kit in your car, but you should consider having a special winter emergency kit or adding items that can be helpful in cold or snowy weather.

You should have a few items packed up in case you are ever stranded out in the cold.

Phone Battery Charger: Purchase a battery charger that you reserve for this winter kit so that it always remains fully charged and ready in case of an emergency.

Warm Coverings: You may find yourself having to wait outside without being able to use your car's heater. Keep a hat, gloves and even a blanket in your vehicle. If you frequently travel with passengers it would be a good idea to have extra coverings at your disposal.

Kitty Litter/Sand: If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, kitty litter or sand can be poured onto the snow to help your tires get the necessary traction.

De-icer spray: To help you make your way into a car that's frozen shut, consider keeping some spray at both your home and workplace. While this kit will be kept inside your vehicle, you should also have one more outside of your vehicle so you can get in.

Other miscellaneous items to consider: Remember to carry a flashlight, small shovel, blanket, and your Joe Cotton Ford ice scraper in your vehicle!

Don't have a scraper yet? Stop by Joe Cotton Ford today and pick one up, while supplies last.

6. Joe Cotton Ford is Here to Help

Before you need the Winter Emergency Kit, come in and let us check out your car and make sure you are ready. We want to do what we can to help keep your family safe this winter.

While you are in, grab a Joe Cotton Ford scraper, while supplies last.


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Definitely 5 stars. They made the process of buying a new car easy. They took time helping us choose the car that fit our needs and budget! Rich, Danny, Rick and Mike were the best and huge thank you!! We would highly recommend Joe Cotton Ford!

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Great experience from beginning to end. On their Website, I saw one of their Internet specials advertised, so I went in, set up a test drive, asked my questions, set up financing, and -- only around 3 hours after I'd walked in -- drove away with my new car. The purchase went quickly and efficiently.

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Everyone at Joe Cotton is the greatest! Always friendly and willing to help with anything. Roman is the best!!! Mike Diehl also is one of the best! Would not buy anywhere except Joe Cotton. Recommend them to anyone asking!

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I went in for my 6 month check up as required for my maintenance package. Quite some time passed and I remembered that I needed new wiper blades. I went back and asked if that could be added and my service guy just smiled and added it. It was all covered in my plan. I'm bad at getting names but I have had nothing but great experiences in the dealership and service department. Highly recommend them. Not everyone is perfect, nor does everyone have a good day everyday. I have read the bad reviews and am thankful I have not had the same experiences. Keep up the good work and get these reviews up! 5 star for this household!

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I have been servicing my 07 Navigator L at Cotton since I bought it new. Great service still going strong. Wouldn't take it anywhere else! Service manager Davy Malloy is one of the main reasons that I still service my Ford and Lincoln vehicles at Cotton. Great attention to detail.

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Good service and excellent customer service, I am so happy with my new car, thanks for your good service they are very friendly. Thank you!!

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Excellent customer service. Variety of options. Genuine effort to reach our budget. Special heart for non-profits that give back to the community. Efficient on every level. Personable care from multiple staff.

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

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Really like Jason our salesman. No pressure trying to sell us something we didn't want and found our Edge we love it and no problems with it. Like the free 2 yrs service for oil changes. We got 3 and only have 13,000 and its 2 years old. We even went to one of there summer open houses free food etc and won 5 free oil changes!!Well buy our next car or truck there for sure! Fair price great service

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A great experience. The sales team is well versed and very helpful. I will be purchasing all of my vehicles from Joe cotton in the future and would recommend them to anyone looking for a new vehicle.

Facebook - 5 Stars

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Multiple successful visits to their service and parts departments. Great and friendly customer service and fair pricing on every visit. Thank you!

Google - 5 Stars

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Always helpful, and good selection of new and used cars

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Thank you for your Honesty. Joe Cotton service will be saving me a ton of money for correctly diagnosing an issue that another dealer said was a complete engine

Google - 5 Stars

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Great people they tread u right make u feel like home

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

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"Golden Rule Service - Second and third generation dealership. Quality and Service as you want it. Comfortable waiting with amenities. New and used vehicles to select, with staff who will search for the right vehicle if not found here."

CarGurus - 5 Stars

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"Great - on top of things -Stan was very informative of the car I was interested in" - 5 Stars

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"Fast, quick and never met nicer people to deal with. I don't believe I will go anywhere else."

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

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"Best sales and service at Joe Cotton Ford. Best Ford dealership to buy a new or used car. Best price and best service. Employees are all great."

Google - 5 Stars

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"Everyone was very kind! I was in and out for an oil change in 45 minutes. Great service :)"

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I've been a customer for nearly 30 years. Most of my business is service now. I think they're honest and forthright people. The auto business is tough and very competitive. Joe Cotton continues to get my business because they know my car very well.

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