Being able to prep your car for winter is a vital part of owning a car, especially if you live in a cold climate region. Whether you tuck your car away for the winter months, or drive it there’s quite a few tips to prepare your car for winter. Taking the proper measures now to ensure that your car is ready can keep you safe.
Even if you don’t live in a cold region, proper maintenance is important. Owners that live in temperate areas must still maintain a proper car check schedule. If you are ready to get the second half of the year underway, use these tips below to prep your car for winter.
How to prepare your car for winter
Maintenance – One of the biggest parts of winterizing your car is the maintenance. Without proper maintenance your car may break down or have more problems. Without a regular maintenance plan to catch minor problems, they can grow into major ones.
To follow the proper schedule for maintenance, check your owner’s manual. Follow the regular scheduled tasks, and make sure to double down on fluids and temperature related items.
Fluids – If you are putting your car away for winter, the fluids are an important part of the equation. Because the cold makes everything brittle and worsens the condition of fluids in your engine, follow these tips.
- Coolant – The coolant in your system should be flushed and refilled before storage. Check the level and condition of your coolant periodically.
- Engine Oil – Changing your oil and filter is a good idea whether you are storing the car or not. Either way it’s a good way to prep your car for winter to keep the engine bearings in good repair.
- Transmission fluid – Its typically not as important to change your transmission fluid until you are taking the car out for summer.
Climate Control – Driving your car in the winter months is hard enough without a heater. Make sure that your heater and defroster are working properly and are in good repair. Without a working heater, you may be compromising passenger comfort and driver visibility.
Wiper Blades – If you are in a cold climate area, switch your wiper blades to rubber ones. Rubber wiper blades will help fight off ice build up and keep your windshield clean. On top of changing to new wiper blades, always carry around an ice scraper.
Battery check – The battery is the central part of your automobile, and any prepping your car for winter will require your battery being checked.
Take your car into a mechanic to have your battery tested with professional equipment. Check your battery connections to make sure they are free of corrosion or build up. Failing to do this could leave you out in the cold… literally.
Bulb Check – No matter whether you are stowing your car for winter, or driving it you’ll need to check your bulbs. There are many bulbs in your vehicle, and you’ve got to check other lights and bulbs.
Replace any burned out bulbs or damaged ones. Clean your bulbs with a lint free rag and never use your hands. Never allow your car bulbs to become scratched or exposed to the elements, and replace them as needed. If you need a guide on how to identify your car bulbs, check this article here.
Tire – Improperly worn tires are a hazard in even good weather. That’s why winter weather demands that your tires are in good shape and your car is properly aligned. Learn how to identify your tires and read the tire size so that you’ll be able to get a replacement.
If you are storing your car for winter, make sure to check your tire pressures and keep them inflated properly.
Before storing the car for winter, check and examine your tires for tread life and any damage. Problems like nicks or punctures in the sidewall should be addressed ahead of time.
If you have under-inflated tires, your engine will have to work harder and your sidewall can crack if stored for long periods of time.
Checking other issues – Preparing your car for winter must also include checking other problems. Issues with your car not starting or with a rough idle should be taken care of now before you drive in the cold weather.
Don’t forget that cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replacing your filters and other maintenance items to keep your car efficient and running clean.
Use these tips to prepare your car for winter, whether you are driving it or not. Get these hints worked into your maintenance plan so that your car is reliable during the long winter months.