Tips and Tricks to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Tips and tricks to prepare your car for winter

Winterize your car

As you winterize your home, your wardrobe, and yourself—don’t forget to prepare your car for winter, too!

Our skis, scarfs, and sweaters are ready to go.

Our cars and trucks also need to be ready.

Winter is the hardest season for vehicles.

Some good Durango car care in the fall

Being proactive in the fall isn’t just about protecting your vehicle.

It will also keep you, your passengers, and your fellow drivers safe.

Before the first snowfall, wash the interior and exterior of your car.

Don’t forget the undercarriage, this takes a beating, especially in the winter.

Also give the exterior of your car or truck a layer of protective coating: wax, sealant, or ceramic coating.

This will stop the salt from sticking to your car and will also make it easier to clean.

Winter car hacks

If you live in a snowy area, wash your car weekly. Although the salt and sand are necessary for road safety, they wreak havoc on your car.

It may seem counterintuitive to wash your car after a snowfall but removing that salt and sand quickly will protect the paint, windows, mirrors, lights, tires, and undercarriage.

This is also a good time to check that all lights are working, especially headlights and taillights.

If it’s below freezing and you park your car outside, either wait to wash your car, or make sure it’s thoroughly dry after washing, especially the edges of the doors. You want to avoid frozen locks and doors.

If your car has a key (not a fob, but a key), putting some hand sanitizer on the key before sliding it into the lock can help avoid freezing.

Park your car facing east so it gets sun as soon as possible. This can help melt ice and unfreeze frozen doors.

If the door is frozen and you have a remote starter, then use it to defrost the door from the inside out.

There are deicing products sold at automotive stores that you can use as well. If your budget allows, pick up a bottle or two before you need them.

If snow is in the forecast, use sports socks or old dish towels to wrap around your windshield wipers to keep them from freezing to the windshield.

Also change your wipers twice a year.

Taking the time to cover the whole windshield prior to a snowfall will save you time later.

If you don’t have a fabric cover, a large piece of cardboard or an old rug will do the trick.

If you find yourself without an ice scraper, any plastic card in your wallet works in a pinch.

5 important car maintenance checks for winter

1. Check your car’s cabin air filter.

A clogged cabin air filter can impact the output of your car’s air conditioner.

This can affect visibility since your air conditioner is needed to defrost the inside windshield.

A clogged air filter can also impact your heater, which you use more in the winter.

Your cabin air filter is also important in winter since it filters out pollutants.

In winter, we tend to keep the windows up, so a clean air filter is healthier for the passengers.

2. Check your car’s braking system.

Replacing brakes can be expensive, but not more expensive than if you can’t stop quickly, which in the winter happens more often.

Make sure you can quickly brake so you don’t hit the car in front of you.

Also keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you is a good practice.

Brake fluid should also be checked, although brake fluid rarely freezes.

Check that your brake lights are working.

Visibility in winter can be a problem, so you want to make sure the car behind you knows you’re braking.

3. Check tire pressure and treads.

Check your tire pressure monthly throughout the winter to ensure they’re properly inflated.

Cold temperatures can decrease the air pressure in your tires.

Don’t forget to also check the spare tire.

Check your tire treads to make sure they’re not worn down, so you’ll have proper traction.

Tread depth is crucial when driving under slippery road conditions.

4. Check and top off all fluids.

In the winter, car engines work harder than usual due to the colder weather conditions.

It’s important to check your oil, washer fluid, and antifreeze.

Your car may require a lower viscosity oil in the winter.

Thin oils (low viscosity) pour through the engine easier at colder temperatures.

Windshield washer fluid is a must in the winter with all the slush and salt being kicked up.

Windshield washer fluid helps melt ice and obviously improves your visibility.

The engine coolant is a combination of antifreeze and water.

The antifreeze keeps the water from freezing and causing engine damage.

5. Check your car’s battery.

Being stranded with a dead battery is inconvenient and frustrating to say the least.

But being stranded when the temperatures are low can be dangerous.

Your battery works harder in the winter.

Have it checked to ensure it’s fully charged and able to start the engine in frigid conditions.


Key Takeaways

Getting your car ready for the winter is so important for your safety, your convenience, and preserving your investment.

Doing a few simple checks, will help your car perform more efficiently and safely throughout the winter.

Find other winter driving safety tips and tricks here.

Check out Cascade Xpress’ affordable Unlimited Carwash Plans.