Winterize Your Car: How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Freezing Temperatures

Car driving on road in winter

Just like humans bundle up during the winter months, vehicles also need to be taken care of in cold temperatures to ensure they perform appropriately. In this article, we will show you how to winterize your car for safe driving.

But before we jump into the details, it is important to know when to get your vehicle ready for the cold weather. A good rule of thumb to follow is to winterize your car a few weeks before temperatures drop. And, depending on the area, you’re probably in that season right now.

Check Tire Pressure

When temperatures fluctuate, it's common for a vehicle’s tire pressure to drop. That’s why it’s important to check tire pressure once a month, especially during the winter months. If tires are under-inflated, your car will not perform at its best. Flat tires actually cause a vehicle to burn fuel at a quicker rate because more power is required to overcome the increased drag that results from the tire’s larger surface area touching the road.

If you live in an area with temperatures below 40 degrees in the winter, be sure to buy tires that will work year-round.

Get Snow Tires

Consider getting snow tires if you live in an area that’s covered in snow several months out of the year. These types of tires have a softer rubber as well as tread patterns, and this allows the car to more effectively grip into the snow or ice. While the chance of sliding may still be there, these tires reduce the risk of slipping in the snow as they provide more traction than your everyday tires.

Repair Windshield Cracks

Another thing to consider when preparing your vehicle for freezing temperatures is to check if there are any windshield cracks. If so, it’s crucial that you repair these..

A small crack could turn into a big one when temperatures start fluctuating between hot and cold. If you have a chip or small crack in your windshield then keep your car out of freezing weather to avoid ice forming in the crack and expanding it. Minor chips and cracks can typically be fixed using a "do-it-yourself" glass repair kit sold in most major auto parts retailers. Be sure to check windshield wipers as well, and if they need to be replaced, you can always refer to a previous article we shared with tips to remove windshield wipers easily.

Replace Wiper Blades

Winter brings more precipitation than other seasons and you need to be able to see the road when driving in the rain. Be sure to replace your wiper blades if they haven’t been cleaning your windshield as they should or you’ve had them for over a year.

Add a special wiper fluid to your car if you live in an area with freezing temperatures so that the wipers work efficiently.

Change the Oil

Changing the oil should be a part of your vehicle’s maintenance routine, especially during the winter months as its effectiveness drops due to the cold weather. Lower temperatures make the oil get thicker and keep it from circulating as it should. Speak to your mechanic and request to have a thinner type of oil in your car for the winter months.

Test the Battery

Batteries suffer during the winter months, and they should also be a part of your routine to winterize your car. Have a mechanic test your battery on your next oil change. Normally, batteries have a 3-year life span though sometimes you may get away with up to 5 years depending on your driving style and how much you drive.

Inspect Brakes and Brake Lights

While this next tip applies to all seasons, it’s particularly important to have fully functioning brakes and brake lights during the winter months. Not only will this help you with your own safety while driving but also with other drivers’ visibility.

Carry a First Aid / Survival Preparedness Kit

Lastly, and regardless of the temperature outside, be sure to always carry a first aid/survival preparedness kit in your vehicle.

Some items you should include are: blankets, a flashlight, warm clothes, ice scraper, and reflective vests. For more information on how to create your own survival preparedness kit, we recommend reading the linked article we shared in the past.

While it’s not too difficult to winterize your car, it does take some time and commitment. That’s why at Infinity we want to make sure saving on auto insurance is as easy as 1-2-3. Call one of our friendly agents at 1-800-INFINITY or visit our website to get a free quote within minutes!

The materials available in the Knowledge Center are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact legal counsel to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of this website or any of the links contained within the website do not create representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.