How to Winterize Your Car

How to Winterize Your Car

Winterizing your car prevents accidents and breakdowns that can leave you on the side of the road in bad weather. Here’s how to winterize your car.

It’s that time of year again: The days are getting shorter, the weather colder. Soon the temperatures will be freezing and the snow will be falling. Is your car ready?

Winterizing your car protects both you and your vehicle from unnecessary repairs, accidents, and getting stranded on the side of the road in bad weather. Here are a few things to do before the cold weather sets in for the season.

Bmw 5 e39 on snow:
bmw 5 e39 on snow

• Get new tires. Have the tread depth on your tires checked. If they are too bald, you will be at risk of having an accident on wet, icy, or snow-packed roads. Snow tires and studded snow tires are great in areas that get a lot of snow and ice, but you will need to be sure to take them off in the spring and store them (if there is enough tread left) until the following winter. However, brand-new all-season tires may be all you need. Talk to your mechanic and see what they recommend.

• Have your tires rotated and balanced, and the air pressure checked. If you don’t need new tires, or you just recently bought all-season tires, be sure to have them rotated and balanced. Also have the air pressure checked. This will ensure the best handling in poor conditions, not to mention even wear throughout the winter.

• Have your cooling system checked. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water actually can reach colder temperatures than either water OR antifreeze without freezing. Your mechanic will have a gauge to test the freezing point of the mixture currently in your car’s radiator. While they’re at it, have them visually inspect your hoses to make sure they are not too soft or too brittle. With the wild swings between freezing outdoor temperatures and the temperatures your engine operates at, old hoses will be susceptible to bursting this time of year.

Snowy driving conditions:
snowy driving conditions

• Consider having your radiator flushed and your antifreeze replaced. Most people don’t think about changing their antifreeze, but this should actually be done every couple of years. The pH balance in your antifreeze deteriorates over time, leaving the inside of your radiator and the rest of your cooling system vulnerable to corrosion. Flushing the system can also help prevent or slow any corrosion that has started.

• Have your belts and battery checked. The last thing you want is a dead battery this time of year! Have your battery tested to make sure it will hold a charge under load — some auto parts stores will do this for free — and replace it if it’s not 100 percent. Also, be sure to check your belts — if they are loose or polished, cold weather will make them more likely to slip.

• Check your wipers and refill your wiper fluid. Most people don’t realize that wipers are only designed to last about six months, so it’s a good idea to replace them at the beginning of every winter and summer. Also, be sure to top off your wiper fluid, or replace it with de-icer if you prefer.

• Be sure you have a snow brush and ice scraper! Were you planning on replacing your scraper at the end of last season? Did you take it out of the car? It’s easy to forget about these kinds of things over the long summer. Be sure you are prepared for the first snowstorm of the season.

Winter Car Desnowisation

Even if you take all of these precautions, accidents and breakdowns can still happen, so be sure to always be prepared for an emergency. You can get an emergency kit for your car in any store that sells auto accessories, or you can make your own. In the winter it is a good idea to carry a spare jacket, spare gloves, and perhaps a blanket or two in the trunk. A flashlight, spare tire kit, and jumper cables should be with you at all times. Tire chains and a couple bags of sand in the back if you have a truck can help you get out if you get stuck. Start thinking of things like this now, and you’ll be sure to be prepared in case the worst happens!

Vera Mosley is an expert in all things cars, including truck and auto accessories. When she is not researching the hottest cars and accessories, she loves to travel and spend time outdoors. Follow her on Twitter @Vmosley.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Use a tire gauge to check the tire pressure. Air contracts with cold, and the tires may become low as the temperature drops.Make sure the tires are in good condition. If you are not sure what this means, ask a mechanic (in a shop that doesn’t sell tires) for an opinion.