6 Tips to Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for Winter

November 5, 2015
Sarah B, DIY Expert

As a born and raised Michigander, I am used to Michigan winters and how important it is to prepare your car (and yourself) before snow falls. Don't wait until the first snow to make sure your car is ready. Get prepared early this year with these 6 DIY tips for getting your car ready before the snow hits the ground.

1. Check your tires. 
Check the air pressure (which will be lower in cold weather) and tread and think about scheduling a tire rotation. Even if you are a pro at driving in snow and ice, if your tires have low pressure or worn tread you are at greater risk of slipping and hydroplaning. Not sure if your tread is low? Put an upside-down penny in several treads (on the inside and outside of the tire). The rubber should cover Lincoln's hairline. If the tread doesn't get that far, the tire may not perform well when you're driving in snowy conditions.

2. Top off your fluids.
Now is the time to get an oil change, add windshield wiper fluid (certain brands have an additive that melts ice), and make sure that your antifreeze and other important fluids are all set.

3. Change your wipers.
Remember: your windshield is your window to the road. Make sure you can see a full picture! One way to make sure you have a clear view of the road is new windshield wipers. If it’s not quite time for new wipers, you can always help them do their job with a rain/water repellent that you can spray on your windshield.

4. Protect your paint.
Give your car the protection it needs by waxing it before winter. You will also want to wash your car regularly (even when it's snowing) to keep it free from salt, snow, and ice. This will help preserve your vehicle and keep it looking nice all year long.

5. Test your battery.  
Check your cables for any cracks or loose connections. You may even want to have a battery voltage reading. Check for an auto parts store in your area that offers this service for free.

6. Make a safety kit.
Even the most careful driver can end up in trouble. Make sure you're prepared in case you get stuck in the snow. I keep these things in my safety bag: bottled water, a snack, a flashlight, a blanket, gloves and a hat, jumper cables, a phone number to roadside service, coolant and engine oil, and a shovel.

With these 6 tips, you’ll be ready for whatever winter throws at you!


Tags: Tips and Tricks, Buying a Car