shutterstock_162726929Winter is coming, which means icy roads, stuck tires, and frozen windshields. Cold weather car maintenance is different from summer car care, and skipping out on the basics can leave you stranded in the cold and in dangerous situations.

It’s important to winterize your vehicle before temperatures actually drop. It’s a good idea to do this before you get busy with the holidays. A quick hour or two check on your car is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of car trouble during the winter.

We’ve put together a quick list of the top  cold weather car  maintenance tips that will help you prepare for the worst weather.

  • Check your brakes. These are the most important part of the car for safety.
  • Make sure the battery is fully charged. Cold weather is very hard on batteries.
  • Check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be dangerous in the cold weather since you always drive with closed windows.
  • Clean and replace new antifreeze in the cooling system.
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. Never use wiper blades until ice is fully scraped off the windshield. One turn on of the wiper blades over ice, and you could shred your blade for good.
  • Check exterior and interior lights. 
  • Check the tire tread depth and  pressure. If you live in an area with heavy snow, check the pressure weekly.
  • Switch to a thinner engine oil during the winter months in order to extend the life of your engine.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least half full to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, and gloves.

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