Top 10 Tips to Winter-Proof Your Car

kelli September 6, 2012 2

The winter can be especially tough on your car. Bad weather increases the risk of accidents. Failure to tend to your automobile properly can lead to all sorts of issues—some quite costly—and put you at risk on the road. Here are some car maintenance tips for the winter weather that will keep you safe and keep your wallet from getting drained.

Go for Winter Tires

Tires touted as being appropriate for all seasons may make you less inclined to get winter tires as you think these will make the grade. There are some issues with these all-purpose tires, however, that may reduce their performance in the harsh conditions of winter, such as the manufacturer’s focus on tire style and making tires more fuel-efficient for example.

Keep Tires at Proper Pressure

Make sure your tires are always inflated to the pressure level stated by the manufacturer. Tires without enough pressure will not push through snow as well and you can experience something similar to hydroplaning on water. For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the weather drops, tires lose a pound of pressure.

Check Your Battery

The harsh conditions of winter can drain your battery faster –especially if you keep your car outside– and who wants to be unexpectedly stranded in the middle of the cold because your car will not start? Repair shops and auto parts stores can check your battery for you, for a low cost or sometimes even for free.

Wax Your Lights

The better your lights function, the safer you will be on the road. Waxing your lights can keep icicle build-up from road slush at bay and make for easier removal when it does.
Any type of car wax will do; put on one coat, buff it off and repeat, making for two coats.

Make Sure Your Oil is Up to Snuff

If you are due for an oil change, make sure you get it taken care of before the winter season hits. You also need to make sure you get the right type of oil for the winter season. Oils can perform differently in different temperatures; check your owner’s manual for suggestions on the appropriate types of oils for different temperatures and climates.

Check Anti-Freeze and Get the Mixture Right

Check your anti-freeze levels and if you are due for a flush, get on that before the weather turns nasty. Having the right mix of anti-freeze and water – about 50/50—can shield against freezing in even the coldest temperatures.

Check Belts and Hoses

The cold weather can especially wear down your belts and hoses. Checking them for wear and tear should be a part of your winter car maintenance checklist.

Check Wiper Blades

Poor visibility puts you at major risk for a car accident; poorly functioning wiper blades are a big no-no during anytime, but especially during the months full of sleet and snow. Ideally, you should replace your wiper blades at least yearly. On a related note, make sure you always have a good supply of washer fluid to keep your windshield clean and clear.

Don’t Let Your Gas Tank Run Low

Letting your tank run low during cold weather can cause a very costly problem that will leave you stranded. Always keep your tank full. Being lazy about keeping your tank full could run you several hundred dollars to fix.

Check Heaters and Defrosters

Make sure heaters and defrosters are in working condition. Check for any leaks in the heater core, the door and windows.


Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys covering a wide range of subjects. If you are in the market for a new or used car in the Philadelphia/south Jersey area, check out

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  1. Ajohn September 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm -

    Dude, have you ever even seen any snow?

  2. Jax Wax Car Care Products February 22, 2013 at 6:12 am -

    Great point about waxing the lights! Will also help them from discoloring.