6 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving

August 8, 2021

6 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving

Winter’s snow and ice are quickly approaching. Is your car ready?

If not, here are six simple ways to prepare for the cold season.

1.   Replace Your Wiper Blades

Winter’s precipitation means your wiper blades will be working overtime. To keep your windshield clean, take time to inspect them.

You’ll want to check each one for any signs of deterioration. If you see any brittle spots, tears, or cracks, it’s time to replace them.

2.   Check Your Fluids

Are the fluids in your car rated for winter’s cold temperatures? Freezing weather means you need windshield washer fluid with a low-freezing point. Otherwise, it can freeze inside your vehicle and cause damage to your reservoir.

Check the freezing point of your coolant. If it’s not rated for freezing temperatures, you’ll need to drain it and replace it with the correct fluid. Remember not to use water in your cooling system over the winter.

3.   Stock Emergency Supplies

You never know when an emergency will strike. If you end up stuck in the snow on the side of the road, are you prepared?

While you should keep emergency supplies in your vehicle year-round, you’ll need a few extras during winter. Here’s what you should include:

A snow brush

How will you brush off your car if you aren’t home when it starts snowing? By always keeping an ice scraper and a snow brush in your vehicle, you’ll be ready.

Kitty litter

If you wind up off the road, you’ll need a little extra traction to help your tires grip the snow and ice. Throw a small container of kitty litter in your car, and if you’re stuck, you can sprinkle a little around each tire.

Food & Water

Canned food and bottled water can expand and burst when frozen. If temperatures routinely drop below freezing in your location, you’ll need to take some extra precautions.

You can wrap them in a wool blanket to help keep them from freezing. Placing them inside an insulated cooler also helps.

Consider replacing any canned food with dry-packed or freeze-dried varieties. These can withstand the temperature changes more easily.

 Flares and a Flashlight

It gets dark much earlier in winter. Flares and a flashlight are crucial. Also consider throwing in an extra set of batteries for your light.

A Blanket, Hat and Gloves

If you have to change a tire in the frigid weather, you’ll want to keep your hands warm. Keep a pair of insulated gloves in your vehicle so you have them when you need them.

In the cold, a hat helps hold in your body’s heat. Keep a beanie or another warm hat in your car.

A blanket also provides extra heat if you break down. You can find emergency blankets in small pouches if you’re tight on space.

4.   Ensure Your Heating System Works

Before winter hits, make sure your heating system works. You’ll want to ensure warm air blows through each vent. Remember to check your window defrosters as well.

If you have no heat, you might be low on engine coolant. It could also be a sign of a clogged heater core.

5.   Inspect Your Tires

Do your tires have the tread needed to run on slippery roads? Some people prefer to switch to winter tires. Others run all-seasons. Whichever kind of tire you use, make sure they’re roadworthy.

Check for proper inflation, and use a penny to gauge your tread. Stick a penny into the tread. If you can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. Also, most newer tires have wear indicators. It’s a straight line going across the tread. If the tread is worn down to this indicator, your tires need replaced.

On icy roads, good tires can mean the difference between staying on the road and winding up in the ditch.

6.   Test Your Battery

Get your car battery tested. If it’s testing below normal, you might consider replacing it. If it’s testing weak, you should replace it right away.

Cold temperatures kill car batteries. If your car has trouble starting on cold mornings, you could have a bad battery.

Is Your Car Ready for Winter?

If you need any parts to get your car ready for winter, stop by Tear-A-Part. We have the parts you need for a price you’ll love.