Winterize Your Car: 7 Steps to Prevent Car Service

As winter approaches, make sure your vehicle is equipped to handle dropping temperatures and harsh conditions. When your car is serviced and prepared for weather changes, you can rest assured that costly auto repair bills aren’t something you’ll have to face this season.

Prevent car repair and winterize your vehicle with these seven simple steps:

  1. Replace wiper blades and wiper fluid
    The accumulation of windshield precipitation and salt can hinder visibility and cause unsafe driving conditions. Properly functioning wiper blades and a healthy wiper fluid level ensure a clear line of vision—even when you encounter harsh conditions, such as torrential snow or heavy rainfall. Replace your wiper blades annually for optimal use.
  2. Schedule an oil change
    Your engine should be properly lubricated to run efficiently in cold weather. Because cold weather reduces the effectiveness of car oil, use thinner oil during the winter months. Thin oil runs through an engine easier than thicker oil, allowing the oil in your engine to circulate properly. Check your owner’s manual to find proper viscosity for your particular vehicle.
  3. Check your battery
    Cold weather conditions can take a toll on your vehicle’s battery. During the winter months, your car engine requires more current from its battery just to start the engine. Your local auto technician at Christian Brothers Automotive can run a battery test to determine if your car battery should be replaced, as well as clean any corrosion near the connections.
  4. Carry an emergency kit
    The side of the highway is the last place you want to be is stranded during the middle of winter. Be prepared for the worst. Stock your car with emergency supplies, including jumper cables, a flashlight, roadside flares, warm blankets, an ice scraper, first aid kit, and a small shovel. (See our article on preparing a roadside emergency kit.)
  5. Consider snow tires
    If you live in a region with heavy snowfall, trade your regular tires for snow tires. Snow tires feature a softer rubber that allows them to maintain flexibility in bitter, cold conditions. And the tread is designed to operate on snow and ice for better traction and safety.
  6. Check antifreeze fluid
    Your radiator mixture should consist of 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent water. These levels prevent your radiator coolant from freezing.
  7. Check your belts and hoses
    Extreme temperatures can damage the belts and hoses that help keep your engine running. Make sure your local auto technician regularly checks for damage and replaces them as needed.