7 Tips to Prepare Your Car for Freezing Temperatures

The winter for this year has been predicted to be a harsh one, with colder temperatures, more ice, and more snow than Maryland has seen in recent years. With the absence of such cold weather in years, drivers are rusty about what it takes to prepare their cars for harsher winter temperatures.

Don’t neglect your winter car maintenance this year – proper car care ensures safe driving, longer vehicle lifespan, and avoiding dangerous situations that may unexpectedly arise. We break down 7 easy tips to prepare your car for freezing temperatures. This step-by-step guide is simple enough for any driver to follow. No mechanic needed – dive in and make sure your car is winter-ready. 

Still need some additional help? Ready for a tune-up before the snow strikes? Schedule your appointment at Lisbon Auto and head into the winter with peace of mind.

7 Tips to Prepare Your Car for Freezing Temperatures

7 Easy Tips to Prepare Your Car for Freezing Temperatures this Winter

1. Light Checks – Bright Lights and Functioning Wires and Bulbs

Not just for winter, you should always be checking the status of the lights on your vehicles. Without properly functioning headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and blinkers, you put yourself and other drivers at risk. This is especially crucial for winter when the sun sets sooner, there is hazardous weather like ice and snow, and you need to have functioning hazard lights in the case of a breakdown.

Always check your vehicle’s lights to ensure they are not only on but bright and visible at the proper distance. If your car has fog lights, check these as well. If you notice any dim lights or broken bulbs, replace them immediately. 

2. Battery Preparation and Testing

Cold winter weather can be hard on car batteries. It’s important before winter sets in properly to test your car battery. You can test your car battery by visiting your local auto shop or by purchasing a multimeter. The purpose of testing your car battery is to ensure it is receiving the proper voltage.

If your car battery is not working correctly before winter, you can find yourself in a situation where the battery is so drained it doesn’t properly start your vehicle. This can occur in any situation and possibly leave you stranded. Similarly, a drained battery may not fuel all areas of your car that are required for a safe drive.

Make a point to schedule a tune-up before winter to have a battery check-up. Even if your battery is new, you want to be sure it hasn’t been compromised since it’s purchase. 

3. Proper Fluids and Topping Off

No one wants to top off their fluids on the side of the road, so make sure you have all the proper fluids in your car before winter. This means changing out your windshield wiper fluid for a winterized version. This will include anti-fog for your windshield and a solution that won’t freeze in your car, damaging the windshield fluid system.

You also want to top off your oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and other any important fluids that are due. Check your oil to see if you need an oil change before or after winter to avoid problems when the roads are hazardous due to weather conditions. 

4. Functioning Heater and Defroster

Without a functioning heater in your vehicle in winter, you could be facing dangerous driving conditions due to freezing weather. Without a heater in your car, you are not only putting your comfort at risk but you are risking your car’s safety. The heat and defroster in your car allow for better visibility, better functioning components, and a longer vehicle lifespan.

Even on short drives roadblocks can happen – you never want to be stranded in your car without heat. Always prioritize fixing your car’s heater before winter to ensure safety for you and all passengers. This also allows for better dexterity unimpeded by gloves or stiff fingers for steering, shifting, and signaling. 

5. Winter Windshield Wipers for Ice and Sleet

Not all windshield wipers are designed to handle cold temperatures. If you do not replace your windshield wipers for a winter pair, you could damage your wipers due to ice and freezing temperatures. This doesn’t just require a last-minute replacement but can impede your vision if you are trying to remove snow or sleet from your windshield.

Visit your local auto shop to swap out your windshield wipers and reduce your chance of having cracked wipers. Better visibility equals better safety on the road. 

6. Tire Prep: Winter Tire and Air Pressure

Winter comes with ice and sleet, dangerous conditions to be driving in. These conditions are made worse by bald or low-pressure tires. Tires without tread, ie bald tires, are unable to properly grip the road. These tires are slippery in non-ice conditions and are made worse by icy roads or sleet and snow.

Always replace your tires once the tread is too low. You can also swap out your tires for winter tires, designed to handle the snowy and harsh conditions. As well, stay on top of your tire pressure so you don’t risk an unexpected flat in the middle of a storm. 

7. Have the Proper Equipment On Hand

Anything can happen when on the road and you always want a winter emergency kit in your car. This should include flares, a snow brush, an emergency blanket, a spare tire, a tire change kit, and water and snacks.

You want to be able to wait out any storm that may leave you stranded. Having this winter car care kit on hand will ensure you can stay comfortable while waiting for assistance or for road closures to clear up. 

Why Car Batteries Die In Cold Weather, And How To Prevent It

Get Your Car Winterized Today

Winter car care is no joke. As harsher winters are headed towards the East Coast, it’s important to stay on top of winter car maintenance so your car stays safe and efficient. If you do not want to handle your car winterization alone, your local auto shop can schedule a tune-up to handle all the tasks you need.

Schedule online with Lisbon Auto today to have your car inspected and checked up before the weather dips down.