When temperatures drop, we tend to cozy up inside and enjoy the view outside, but are you taking care of your car just as well?
If winter is coming, you have to prepare your vehicle to make sure it makes it through with as little damage as possible while being reliable.
This will not only keep you and others safe but also save you money. If you still haven’t begun preparing your car for winter, here are seven tips to help you out.
Change Your Oil
Using a thicker motor oil during hotter months protects your engine from overheating. In winter, on the other hand, you need a thinner, winter-grade oil to help start your engine when it’s cold outside while putting less stress on your car battery.
Put Together An Emergency Kit for Winter
In the case of breakdowns or accidents, each driver should have an emergency kit. However, don’t forget to adapt the kit to winter temperatures and conditions. Some of the things a typical winter kit should have are an ice scraper, small shovel and snowbrush, booster cables, road flares, antifreeze, extra clothing, emergency blankets, some non-perishable food and water, and a tow rope.
Change to Winter Tires
Because tires are so critical to navigation and safety while driving, it’s extremely important to invest in a set that can firmly secure your vehicle to the ground and prevent skidding. According to Woody Rogers, product information officer at Tire Rack, high-tech safety systems built into a car will be rendered useless without winter tires.
All-season tires, despite the name, are not suitable for temperatures below 45 F. On the other hand, winter tires can handle freeze temperature and offer a deeper thread to maintain better traction in rough conditions.
Keep a Half-Full Gas Tank
A nearly empty gas tank can cause condensation build-up during winter, which can lead to frozen fuel lines. To prevent this, refuel when your indicator dips below the half-way mark.
Check Your Car Battery
A car battery that’s on its way out can make it difficult for your car to start once freezing temperatures arrive. Low temperatures can also cause cracks in your car battery’s casing, which results in even more severe issues. Therefore, have a mechanic check your car’s battery and make sure you replace it if it’s nearly dead.
Use Antifreeze and Check Levels Often
You should have enough antifreeze or engine coolant in your car through the year. It will prevent overheating as well as freezing during winter. To avoid any trouble, top off your antifreeze levels regularly. However, don’t use only water. Instead, mix distilled water 50/50 with propylene glycol to avoid freezing the reservoir.
Wax Your Car
Ice and snow along with salt used to clear roads during winter can wreak havoc on your car’s paint job. That’s why you should wax the exterior while you can. You can do it yourself or take your vehicle to a local car wash and have them do it for you.
Maintain proper tire pressure
Tire pressure can be an issue during the winter due to the cold temperatures. Car experts say tires tend to deflate once the temperature drops below 32 degrees and that on a weekly basis, you should check your tire pressure because lower tire pressure decreases your gas mileage and also can wear the tires out faster.
As improper tire pressure reduces control of the car in all conditions, proper inflation is especially important in bad conditions.
Inspect headlights and brake lights
It’s vital to have fully functioning headlights and brake lights when dealing with thick winter fog or heavy snow as it’s going to help your own visibility while driving, but also make sure other drivers are able to see you.
It should be noted that plastic headlight covers with a haze on them can have a negative effect on the brightness of the headlights. Plastic headlight lens repair kits can be found at various retailers if you choose not to have it serviced by a professional.
If you’ve followed our tips to prepare your car for winter, and done everything you can, you can rest easy. If you’ve forgotten some of the steps, now’s the time to get your car ready for low temperatures and winter road conditions. If you need more information on how to keep your vehicle in top working order during winter, you can do research online.
- “Are you and your car ready for winter?” Rates, 15 January, 2020,
- “8 tips to prepare your car for winter, according to auto experts,” Business Insider, Steven John, 5 November, 2019,
- “5 ways to prepare for your car for winter,” AccuWeather, Kevin Byrne,
- “Why should you keep your gas tank full?” Kat Tire,