For many of us across the U.S. winter has already begun. Minnesota and parts of northern Michigan, as well as New York, saw blizzards and lake effect snow over the weekend. Here in the Midwest, we’ve officially moved into fall and it’s getting colder with each passing day. As cold weather sets in, it’s officially time to start thinking and moving ahead with winter preparedness. In addition to getting our homes ready for cold weather, we also need to think about and prepare our cars for cold weather as well. But how do we do that?
U.S. News suggests the five following steps to prepare your car for winter:
- Put a winter supply box in your car, filled with some of the following items:
- First aid kit
- Warm clothes
- Extra blankets
- Energy snacks
- Check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels
- Check your tire pressure and tread depth
- Use ‘winter’ windshield wiper fluid
- Believe it or not, the windshield wiper fluid you use during the warmer months is actually different from the windshield wiper fluid used in the winter. It’s more durable.
- At your next oil change, switch to ‘winter’ grade oil instead
- Again, more durable than regular oil
Another way you should prepare your car for winter is to be sure of your car’s battery life and durability. During the winter months, there are many days you’ll have to go out and warm your car and defrost the windows. If your battery is weak, your car may not want to start or could possibly give out while you are driving, leaving you stranded.
Some other ways to prepare your car for winter are:
- Keeping an ice scraper in the backseat
- Have a small shovel on hand
- Keep an extra bag of cat litter or sand in your truck
- This helps give your car some added weight for traction, but it’s also great for giving you extra traction if you should happen to get stuck
- If your doors should ever freeze and you do not have access to hot water, most automotive stores sell glycerine to use as a de-icer for your doors
- Note: I’ve used hot water a few times on my frozen car doors in the past and while it is a great, quick and easy to way to unfreeze your doors, you have to be careful that your doors don’t refreeze after your unfreeze them.
- You should also be sure to have an extra car charger for your phone or an already charged phone in the car, such as in your glove box or emergency kit
- Be sure all your lights are in working order, both front and back
The more prepared you are for winter and winter driving, the safer you will be!
When do you start preparing your car for winter? What are some other winter ready tips for getting your car ready? Let us know in the comments below!