Tips on Car Care During the Winter

By Ursula Nizalowski

stranded in a winter storm

With autumn upon us, it’s only a matter of time before winter arrives. And when that happens, it
means having to prepare one’s car for the sudden change in weather conditions. Because colder
temperatures could be dangerous for a car that’s ill-prepared, along with things like snow and
ice. Fortunately, there are plenty of useful tips on how to take care of one’s car during the winter
with the most important ones listed below.

What To Maintain


A) Battery – Even though it’s generally a good idea to check on the car battery
throughout the year, it’s especially pertinent in the winter season. That’s because “batteries lose
power as it gets colder,” according to AAMCO . So if the battery hasn’t been replaced in a while,
consider getting a new one.

B) Fuel Tank – Since the fuel tank is the car’s main source of energy, one should try to
keep the tank half full. That way, it will reduce the risk of moisture building up which could
freeze in the gas lines as the temperature drops. Additionally, State Farm says having a half tank
of gas is good for emergency situations such as getting stuck in the snow since you have to keep
the engine running to stay warm until help arrives.

C) Other Fluids – Besides fuel, other liquids within the car that should be maintained are
oil, anti-freeze, and coolant. For instance, getting an oil change might not be a bad idea if it’s
been some time since the last one. As for anti-freeze and coolant, consider topping them off as
needed without using 100% coolant since it could expand and damage the engine if it’s frozen.

D) Filter – In addition to changing the oil, the filter should be changed as well if need be.
This includes the cabin air filter that’s in the car interior. Because according to AASA’s website
Know Your Parts “tailpipe particulate emissions are higher when the engine is cold,” which can
be harmful to one’s respiratory system.

E) Brakes – Among the various car parts, brakes are considered the most important. Not
only do they prevent one from crashing into other vehicles, but also keep the car from dealing
with environmental damage. Especially during the winter, because having functioning brakes is
necessary to stop a car from sliding on ice or snow.


A) Lights – Generally, car lights serve a variety of functions. They allow one to see the
road in the dark, signal other drivers, and see the car’s interior at night. So it’s a good thing to
make sure that they’re working properly and are replaced as necessary.

B) Windshield Wipers – Since windshield wipers are useful for clearing debris and
various types of precipitation, they should be treated with care in wintertime. After all, they
could freeze and inconvenience the driver. Thus, State Farm advises that the wipers be “in the
raised position” to keep them from freezing and not be used to “remove ice, snow or frost from
the windshield” since that’s not their function.

C) Tires – Depending on where you live, it might be good to switch to winter tires. After
all, winter tires are designed to withstand the colder temperatures and have better traction for
driving along ice and snow. It also wouldn’t hurt to check your tires’ air pressure because “cold
air lowers air pressure” AAMCO says.

D) Undercarriage – Compared to the topside of the car, the undercarriage isn’t as
noticeable for obvious reasons. Yet the undercarriage shouldn’t be ignored since grime and dirt easily get caught in it. This in turn increases the risk of salt sticking to the undercarriage and resulting in rust being created.

E) Wax – Because car wax is generally used to keep a car’s coat of paint from being
damaged by the elements, maintaining it in the wintertime is a no-brainer. In fact, polymer wax
“can create a barrier against road salt, grime, snow, sleet and more” according to State Farm .
This type of wax can also be used for getting rid of buildup, especially when going through a car
wash that uses high-pressured water.

How To Be Prepared

In addition to maintaining one’s car is during the winter, there are other ways to prepare oneself
for the cooler days ahead. For instance, it’s a good incentive to look up what the weather is
going to be like before heading out either on the radio or online. Also, having an emergency kit
in the car would be good in case the car gets stuck and you’re waiting for help to arrive. But for
any accidents that do occur this winter, or any other time of the year, feel free to contact attorney
Rick Wagner .