7 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Winter

7 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Winter

With winter approaching, it's important to ensure your vehicle is ready for the cold weather and winter elements. By taking the steps below, it'll ensure your vehicle is running smoothly for the winter months and in tip-top shape, come March. These tips cover safety precautions, mechanical maintenance steps, as well as how to protect the interior and exterior of your vehicle properly. Make it your goal to knock out the list before December 1st!

  1. Winter Supply Box- Putting a winter supply box in your vehicle is a crucial step for your safety, especially if you live in a colder climate, like Detroit. Here are some items you should include in your box: a flashlight, first-aid kit, road flares, some extra warm clothes, a couple of blankets, a bag of sand for traction, an extra ice scraper and some high energy snacks like nuts or jerky.
  2. Check Tire Pressure and Tread Depth- Good tires are essential at all times, but when there is snow and ice on the roads, bad tires could cause accidents. To check your tire tread, perform the "Lincoln Test"- insert a penny into your tires tread with the top of Lincoln's head pointing in towards the tire. If you can still see Lincoln's head where the tread ends, you should replace the tire.
  3. Check Engine Coolant/Antifreeze Levels- Antifreeze is the substance that keeps your engine from freezing during the sub-zero winter months. Visit your local auto parts store to pick up a kit to easily check if you have the appropriate coolant mix. You can also check your antifreeze levels by following the instructions in your car owner's manual.
  4. Switch to Winter Grade Oil- Typically, the colder the weather, the thinner you want the oil in your engine to be. The viscosity of your oil can be told by the first number in the oil specification, the lower the number, the better viscosity it is for cold weather. For example, if you currently have 10W-30 in your vehicle you may want to consider switching to 5W-30 at your next oil change before the cold weather arrives.
  5. Wax, Seal or Ceramic Coat Vehicle- This is an important step to ensure the protection of your vehicle’s paint during the harsh winter weather. By applying wax, sealant or ceramic coating to the exterior of your vehicle, you are creating a microlayer of protection to block the snow, salt and contaminants from adhering and preventing actual damage to the paint surface.
  6. Install Rubber Floor Mats- It's a good idea to remove your interior regular cloth floor mats and install rubber mats before the winter weather hits. This will prevent your carpet from getting covered in salt and grime over the winter months. The WeatherTech mats are a little more pricey, but remain your best option since they are laser cut for your specific vehicle model.
  7. Use Cold Weather Windshield Wiper Fluid- The regular wiper fluid in your vehicle from the summer can be useless once those cold winter days arrive. Regular windshield wiper fluid can quickly freeze upon contact with your windshield, where the winter fluid helps to loosen snow and ice much quicker.

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