Driver And Driving

How To Winterize Your Car?

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 27, 2021
How To Winterize Your Car?

Everyone already has a pretty good idea of what kind of routine maintenance should be done on their cars. Everyday driving can and does take a toll on our vehicles. However, if you live in an area that gets winter weather such as ice, snow, sleet and low temperatures, you should do some winterizing for your car.

Winterizing your car is a good way to make sure that your car is ready for changing weather and road conditions. Performing winter care for your car will help give peace of mind while driving and will also help keep your car running well. In addition, you should be mindful of safe driving techniques. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to winterize your car.

How To Winterize Your Car?
How To Winterize Your Car?

8 Tips For Winterizing Your Car

1.Have your vehicle serviced for winter weather

  • Battery – Battery power decreases as the temperature drops. This means that it will take more power to start your car in the winter. If your battery is already having problems, your risk of breaking down increases. It is a good idea to have your auto care provider installs a battery at or above 600 CCA for optimal winter performance.
  • Cooling system – It is recommended to maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. Ask your mechanic what antifreeze should be used for your car and the appropriate coolant-to-water ratio to use. This will help prevent against corrosion and potential freezing.
  • Brakes – While cold weather doesn’t necessarily hurt your brakes, a thorough inspection is a good idea. You want to ensure the best performance when driving in winter conditions.
  • Belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables – These can go bad at any time of year, but if they go bad during the winter, you could be stranded in a very cold place for a very long time. It is a good idea to get them all checked.

2.Put on winter tires

You can use all-season tires in winter conditions however, this will not offer you the maximum performance you may need in your area.

If you live in a place that experiences extremely cold winter temperatures, it is recommended that you install winter tires when winterizing your car. It is crucial to remember that when the temperature consistently stays at or below freezing, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden. This decreases the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction in ice, snow, slush, and even dry pavement.

If you live in an area that doesn’t normally have intense winters, all-season tires should be fine to use. However, if you live in an area with harsh winters or regularly visit places that do, winter tires are the safest choice for you.

3.Maintain Tire Pressure

Every 10° change in temperature could mean a gain or loss of 1 PSI. This means you should check pressure more regularly during winter and add air to your tires as needed.

4.Consider adding winter wipers

These wipers come equipped with rubber that helps to keep ice from collecting on the blades. Just be sure to remove them when spring comes. Since winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on all the time increases the load on the wiper motor.

5.Keep washer fluid full

Replace your car’s windshield wiper fluid often during the winter. A single snowstorm can use a large amount of fluid, so refill the washer reservoir frequently with windshield wiper fluid formulated for winter conditions. If you are not sure if your washer fluid is the right formula for colder temperatures, you can add a bottle of washer fluid antifreeze to the reservoir. This can be found at most auto parts stores.

6.Pack a winter survival kit

You should pack a kit with the essentials in case of an emergency. A good survival kit should include: matches, flares, a first aid kit, flashlight with batteries, ice scraper, extra coats and warm clothing and socks, jumper cables, back of salt or sand, and non-perishable food and water. You should also have a car tool kit and extra antifreeze on hand as well.

7.Fill the tank

During colder, winter months make sure that your car’s gas tank is always half full. This will help prevent you from running out of gas and being stuck on the side of the road.

8.Check the rear window defroster

Being unable to see behind you could create unsafe driving conditions. When winterizing your car, be sure to check your rear-window defroster before cold weather arrives to be sure it’s working properly.

Other tips for safe winter driving with your car

If you get stuck while driving in winter weather, safety is crucial. It is helpful to remember:

  • Do not leave your car because you could become disorientated and risk of losing sight of it
  • Do not run your car for long periods of time to keep warm. Instead, turn it on long enough to stay warm, and then turn it off again to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Put your dome lights on to help attract attention

Additional considerations when winterizing your car

You should check your oil and the viscosity.

In order for your engine to run, it needs proper lubrication from oil. Unfortunately, cold weather will reduce the oil’s effectiveness. The colder it is outside, the thicker the oil gets, and thick oil will not circulate through your engine as easily as thin oil. When this happens, your engine does not get the lubrication it needs during start-up and you will be left with a car that will not start.


Driving in the snow or winter weather conditions does not have to be scary. You simply need to be prepared. As long as you take the appropriate steps to make sure that your car is properly winterized, driving should not be too big of an issue. Always use common sense and be careful out on the roads.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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