Is your car ready for winter?


Over one-quarter of driving accidents each year are affected by bad winter weather conditions, resulting in vehicle and property damage, injury and death. That’s why it’s so important to make sure, as heavy rain, snow, sleet, fog, wind and ice return, that you, your family and car are protected.

Here are a few ways to make sure you’re ready for whatever winter throws your way:

Change your wipers: Bad visibility is a top reason drivers get in accidents, especially in winter. If your windshield wipers are leaving streaks or wiper blades appear dry, stiff or cracked, it’s time to replace them. While you’re at it, buy an extra set and leave them in your trunk, along with a full container of washer solution that contains antifreeze.

Turn on the AC: It may sound counter-intuitive, but if your windows are fogging and frosting up from the cold outside, your vehicle’s air conditioning, even set to a warm temperature, will help by removing humidity.

Check the lights: Snow, slush and dirt can cover up your headlights (and brake lights), reducing visibility for you and other cars around you. Wipe your lights on a regular basis, especially after long drives and bad weather conditions.

Check your battery: Car batteries are less effective in cold weather conditions and engine oil gets thicker, making it more difficult for your car to turn over. Have your car battery professionally tested and replaced if it’s on its last legs. The last thing you need is a dead battery in the middle of a snowstorm.

Warm up your engine: If you live in an area where the temperature drops significantly and if you often park outside, consider an engine block heater that can be plugged into an electrical outlet.

Lube your locks: Moisture in your car door or trunk locks can freeze in very cold conditions and make them hard to open. Use a silicone spray to lubricate your locks before it gets really cold. And if you’re already locked out, lock antifreeze can help.

For even more useful ways to protect yourself in winter, click here and here. And please remember to share your own winter driving tips and experiences in the Shop Talk blog community forum.

Did you know? Be ready for an emergency

Keeping an emergency kit, including road flares, a jack, flashlight, blanket, ice scraper, sand, snacks and first aid kit, in your trunk is always a good idea, especially in winter.

26 thoughts on “Is your car ready for winter?

  1. I live in the south so we don’t have to worry too much about winter driving. We do check our wipers and windshield fluid which is very important anytime of year.

  2. my car is always ready for anything i keep my car like new oil change every 3 months or 3,000 miles whichever comes first same with my transmission every 6 months service all other is inspected by me i love my car it is part of our family if we did not have we would be on foot so always take care of your car and it will take care of you

  3. A little Vaseline on door seals can keep them from sticking. It helps the water bead away so it doesn’t seep in and freeze. If you don’t use Rain-x, that has the same effect on your windows, making it easier to see when it rains, and ice easier to scrape.

  4. All these are excellent tips to help get your car ready for winter. I agree that turning on the A/C seems counter-intuitive, yet this simple tip really works. Thanks for the reminders. Even if you live in an area like Southern California where you don’t generally see snow (except when traveling to the ski slopes or mountains), it does get cold and rainy in the winter, making visibility poor.

  5. One more think to keep in your emergency kit is jumper cables! They are not expensive and so worth the $$ when you are having battery problems. Also, good to check battery to see if it needs replacing now BEFORE you get into the cold temperatures which always brings out the worst in older batteries. It’s cheaper to shop around and buy now than to be in emergency and need to get one in a rush!

  6. This is rediculous for those of us who live in FL. Yes some days it does go all the way down to 50 but that is not very often. thank G_d.

  7. I think having an emergency car kit is great, but I also have an emergency food kit. Just make sure you keep your food kit up to date, because food does go bad.

  8. Yes, already put a blanket, hand warmers, extra gloves, small shovel and extra socks in the car

  9. Carry a gallon of windshield washer fluid with you, when you fuel up wash your headlights and tail lights. Car charger for cell phone, boots, heavy jacket and blanket.

  10. Always carry a scraper if you live in a region where snow occurs. Always carry a warm blanket
    or sleeping bag in your vehicle in the winter. You never know when you could become stranded.
    Also, bottled water could save your life for a few days.

  11. It’s also good to check your anti-freeze with a tester to make sure it is up to the standards for below freezing temperatures…..always good to have it able to accommodate temperatures of -35 just in case…

    Check ALL fluids for proper levels; brake fluid, power steering fluid, pure anti-freeze in the reservoir and of course windshield wiper fluid (also check where the fluid comes out to make sure it does! No use for windshield wiper fluid if it can’t get out to the windshield!!)

    And a fresh oil change/oil filter right prior to the really cold weather is good to have as well!

    Check tires for at least 1/4″ depth in tread!

    Check all your belts and hoses too. It never hurts to be safe rather than sorry! Hoses to &n from the radiator sometimes crack and then break; also make sure your serpentine belt is in good condition!

  12. Even though I don’t own a car now your information is appreciated especially for a female. It’s the basic points to prevent or detect bigger issues. Thank you!

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