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How to Winterize Your Car

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By Madeline Klein on December 1, 2020 in Life Hacks

Although you may wish fall could last a little longer, winter is officially here. It’s time to prep your ride for the snow, sleet, and ice ahead!

You support year-round maintenance to help prevent problems from popping up randomly, but now is a perfect time for a little extra prep. We recommend a couple short steps to help keep you and your little ones safe on the road to Grandma’s house this holiday season!

Build and Pack a Wintertime Emergency Kit

Prepping a wintertime emergency kit might be one of the most important steps when winterizing your car. While you can’t predict a flat tire or an unexpected snowstorm, you can keep a car kit with items to help you in a pinch!

We recommend your winter emergency kit includes:

  • First-aid kit
  • Kitty litter or sand
  • Food and water
  • Extra windshield wiper fluid
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight
  • Blankets
  • Winter coat
  • Hat and gloves
  • Snow shovel
  • Phone charger

Check out our blog for a printable checklist to help you assemble everything you need.

Inspect Tires and Battery

Grab a penny or quarter and do the old coin test on your tires! It’s important for your tread to be in pristine condition before taking on any slick or snow-covered roads. While you’re taking a peek at your tires, double check that the tire pressure is within the suggested range found in the driver’s side door or owner’s manual. Goodyear warns, “for every 10 degrees of temperature drop, tires will drop 1-2 pounds of pressure.” Keeping tire pressure within the recommended PSI will help “maintain traction, handling, and durability.”

For your battery, Bridgestone suggests, “a battery at or above 600 CCA for optimal winter performance.” The reason for this is because battery power decreases with the temperature. When you hear your car struggling to start during the colder months, give it a moment – the cold isn’t just miserable for you, it’s hard on your battery too.

It’s wise to run a quick at-home battery test when the weather starts getting chilly. If you’d rather not handle this at home, most service shops will run one for you for free – just double check pricing beforehand.

Replace Wipers and Refill Fluids

Did you know there are separate windshield wipers made for winter and summer? The winter ones have a protective coating that helps prevent build-up. Car Bibles lists the best winter wiper blades here, so check these out and prepare for the ice and snow!

Windshield fluid and antifreeze should be at the top of your list when preparing your car for the cold. Antifreeze helps keep your engine from freezing (which is pretty important). Plus, windshield fluid seems to disappear 10x faster in the winter when wiping away snow and slush. Load up on this and pack some extra in your trunk for good measure.

Monitor Gas Levels

Pro tip: Always have at least half a tank of gas when driving in winter months.

While you can’t predict a quick change in weather, having a half-full (hey, we’re optimists here) tank means you won’t need to sweat if getting to your destination takes longer than expected.

Prepare Your Garage and Hit the Road

Before the snow starts blowing in, we also suggest winterizing your garage. From protecting your floor to insulating your space, prepping your garage will help reduce the wrath of winter on your home.

Once you’re ready to hit the road, be careful, make sure you know how to successfully travel in the winter wonderland, and cue the holiday jams.

Safe travels and Happy Holidays from Say!

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!