We depend on our vehicles to get us where we need to go, so it’s important that we winterize them properly.  Be sure that your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most.

There are many parts that should be checked by you or a mechanic, so let’s get started:

  • Battery.  Cold temperatures reduce cranking power; your battery is asked to do more to start the engine with low temperatures, so be sure it is in good working order.
  • Wipers and windshield wiper fluid.  Replace old wipers if they leave streaks on the window.  Normal life of wipers is one year.  Leave them in raised position to keep them from freezing to windshield if car is left outside.
  • Ignition system
  • Thermostat
  • Antifreeze
  • Lights
  • Belts and Hoses
  • Exhaust system
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Defroster
  • Brakes
  • Oil level.  Make sure you use the right engine oil. (Consult owners’ manual.) Oil thickens as it gets cold.  Oil with (W) in the viscosity index is formulated for winter.
  • Heater

Some other things to consider:

  1. Be sure your tires have adequate tread.  If you live where there are heavy snow conditions, it might be wise to carry a set of tire chains in your vehicle.Keep your gas tank full or half-full at all times, if possible.
  1. Carry a cell phone with you, as well as a list of emergency numbers.
  1. Consider using non-toxic de-icing substances such as clean cat litter, sand, fireplace ash to prevent hazardous waste.
  1. When warming up your car, let it idle normally.  Revving a cold engine won’t warm it up any faster.

Consumer Reports