When winterizing your car for winter, a priority is to double-check the tires to make sure they have enough tread to drive safely in snowfall or on icy roads. Without the proper tread height, driving in the winter weather can be more dangerous.
It’s also a good idea to get an oil change to prepare your car for winter. You may need to use a different kind of oil than in the summer due to the colder temperatures. It’s advisable to make sure your coolant ratios are correct to help the car in colder weather. Your antifreeze mixture ratio should be roughly 1:1 antifreeze to water in your radiator. This mixture stops the water in your radiator from freezing.
Your mechanic should test the battery to confirm it has enough power. In cold weather, your car requires more current from the battery to start, so it is important to make certain your battery is fully charged.
Other winter readiness tips for your car include:
- Check your windshield wiper blades. Winter often brings precipitation and you want to replace them if they are worn or broken. Fill your windshield wiper fluid as well, as it can help quickly defrost a window in colder temperatures.
- Stock your emergency kit. Your kit should include blankets, extra gloves and hats, boots, and anything else that can keep you warmer in case your car breaks down in a snowstorm or cold weather. It should also include a flashlight, ice scraper, tire changing equipment, jumper cables, and a shovel — if possible.
- Check all belts and hoses. Before cold weather hits, you should check them for cracks or weaknesses. As weather changes, expansion and contraction can cause cracks to get worse at the worst possible times.
- Check the 4WD status: If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, this system should be checked to determine if it’s functioning properly. Test to make certain it engages properly, disengages right away, and drives correctly when the winter weather hits.