Fall is a time to prepare homes, vehicles and even our psyches for the arrival of winter. To get your car cold-weather ready, check and repair these items now.  

Tire pressure can drop in cold weather. When tires are underinflated, you lose fuel efficiency, so monitor and maintain tire pressure throughout the winter.

Those who live in particularly cold climates should switch from all-season to winter tires. Much as you wear winter boots to provide more traction and protection than sneakers, so should you equip your vehicle with tires that will stand up to winter terrain.

Check on the status of your battery and its starting power. Cold weather can put more strain on a car battery. A battery that is already weak may not turn over when you need it most.

Replace worn wiper blades and upgrade to a windshield fluid that is rated for subzero temperatures. Each of these items will improve visibility when winter precipitation is making its presence felt.

Schedule an oil change at the beginning of winter. Dirty oil can hinder cold-weather starts and, if coupled with low coolant levels, can make it difficult for the engine to turn over.


Keep jumper cables, a battery booster pack and warning cones in your vehicle. These can come to the rescue if your battery dies and you’re stranded on the side of the road.

While you’re stocking the trunk or cargo bed, include a shovel, sand or cat litter, a flashlight, an ice scraper, water, and a blanket. These are good emergency items to have in the event your car breaks down in the winter. You can dig your tires out of a snow drift with the shovel and apply litter to increase traction. The blanket will come in handy if you have to sit in a cold car for a while awaiting roadside service.

Consider taking a winter driving course. Icy, snowy conditions completely change the defensive tactics needed to navigate the roads. A prepared driver is one who is more likely to avoid accidents and make it home safely. 

Get your car winter ready

By Tresa Erickson

Feature Writer


“What are you going to all of that trouble for?” your sister demands to know after she hears you making an appointment with a service station to have your tires inspected. Unlike your sister who lives in the Sunshine State, you live up north, where winters can be harsh. In order to ensure you get where you need to this winter, you are having your vehicle winterized, starting with the tires.

Good tires can make all of the difference on treacherous winter roads. In order to prepare your vehicle for the rough weather ahead, you must make sure your tires are properly inflated. Tires lose about a psi of air pressure every month and every time the air temperature drops about 10 degrees. Vehicles with under-inflated tires do not handle well, especially on icy roads. They also increase wear and tear and use more gas (and who needs that with the price of gas these days).

If your vehicle is brand new, you may not have to worry much about the tire pressure. It probably came equipped with a tire pressure monitor that will inform you when the pressure has dropped below a certain point. If you have an older vehicle, you will definitely need to keep an eye on the tire pressure and have your tires checked regularly.

You also need to keep an eye on the tread depth. The more worn and shallow the tread on your tires, the less grip you will have on the road. Depending upon where you live and how treacherous the roads become in the winter, you might want to consider switching to winter tires. Designed specifically for icy roads, these will provide you with superior grip. Keep in mind that you will need to replace all four tires. Should you do just the back two, you will compromise your grip and your safety. To ensure this does not happen, some tire dealers refuse to sell consumers fewer than four tires, unless they need a single replacement winter tire.

It is important that you winterize your vehicle. Start with the tires and work your way up. The better prepared your car is for winter, the safer you will be when out and about.

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