Winter Car Care

How To Prepare Your Car For Colder Weather

by Thomas Walters // January - February - March 2021

While colder temperatures, ice, snow, and slush sometimes come along with winter here in the Triangle, your car doesn’t have be in a deep freeze until the spring thaw. Consider these tips for preparing your vehicle for the cold and handling inclement weather, should it hit this winter.

1. Get Your Car Tuned Up. No matter the weather, regular vehicle maintenance is always a good idea. But extreme temperature changes can affect your car, so it’s especially important to make sure it is in working order before bad weather arrives. From basic tasks to those that you may want a mechanic to handle, there are a few maintenance items to address before winter. Start by popping the hood to check the wiper fluid level. It’s recommended that you keep your windshield washer reservoir full during the cold months. A full reservoir means you can keep your windshield clear, even on a snowy day. Inspect odds and ends under the hood that may fail in extreme conditions. For example, seasonal changes are good times for you or a mechanic to make sure your cooling system is in working order, ensure your battery is charged, and to look at your vehicle’s hoses to make sure that the rubber is in good shape.

2. Check Your Tires. As the temperature falls, so does the air pressure in your tires. Tires can lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature. Low tire pressure can dangerously affect your car’s handling, so it’s important to keep your tires properly inflated.

3. Check Your Car’s Exterior. Check the outside of your car to ensure headlights are in working order. Clean the lenses of your exterior lights and replace any burnt-out bulbs. You’ll also want to make sure the windshield wipers are in working condition – they are constantly subjected to the elements, so it’s important to replace worn or dried-out wiper blades regularly to maintain visibility, especially if a snowfall is forecasted.

4. Create A Winter Emergency Kit. In addition to the emergency road kit you should already have in your car, consider having a special winter emergency kit as well, or add items that can be helpful in snowy or icy weather. Some of the winter items you may want to consider having in your kit include a shovel, gloves, boots, an ice scraper, and sand or kitty litter (for traction on slippery roads).

Winter weather may present some different driving hazards, and the cold can also affect your vehicle. With some preparation and preventive maintenance, though, you and your vehicle can be ready to handle the colder months.

Thomas Walters

Allstate agent and owner of Walters Insurance Agency.