If you live in an area that experiences cold temperatures and snow during winter, it is important to know how to get your car ready for winter. If you are wondering what does it mean to winterize a car? It means that you take the necessary steps to ensure your car runs well and performs safely in cold weather.
Checklist to Winterize Your Car
Your winter car maintenance checklist should include the following 10 things:
1. Check your antifreeze. The engine coolant in your vehicle also acts as an anti-freezing agent during the winter. Your vehicle needs these fluids to run. If the coolant freezes up, it could destroy your engine.
2. Check coolant hoses. When you prepare your car for freezing temperatures, you should also check the radiator hoses. Your cooling system places a lot of pressure on these hoses throughout the year, which can become worn, and connections can become loose. Check all of the hoses to ensure they are in good working order before the cold sets in.
3. Get an oil change. Oil can thicken in cold temperatures, especially if it has been used for a while. Have an oil change completed with the right oil for your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual to see if you should use a different type of oil during the winter in your vehicle.
4. Check your brakes. You want to check your brake fluid levels and have the brake pads checked on your vehicle. Stopping in snow and ice is hard enough without brake failures. You should check your brakes a minimum of twice a year.
5. Change your windshield wipers. You will use your windshield wipers in the snow, slush, and ice. Make sure that they are in prime working condition before the snow comes.
6. Fill your washer fluid tank. Washer fluid will keep your windshield clean and help prevent it from freezing. Make sure to also carry an extra gallon of washer fluid with you during the winter. Fill the tank often for the most protection.
7. Check your battery. If your battery is older, it may not be retaining a full charge. You want to make sure that you are not caught out in the cold with a dead battery. Have your battery checked and if necessary, replace it. Make sure to also check the battery cables for corrosion and secure placement on the battery and your car.
8. Put on your snow tires. Snow tires provide extra protection to all drivers in the winter. Put your snow tires on before the first snow for the most protection. It is important to remember that all-weather tires can be used during the winter, but they do not perform as well as tires designated for snow and ice.
9. Pack an emergency kit for your car
Packing an emergency kit for your car will allow you to perform basic maintenance that may help you get back on the road or signal for help. Items to pack may include:
* Jumper cables
* Road flares
* A gallon of antifreeze
* A gallon of washer fluid
* Basic tools like a wrench, cutter/knife, and screwdriver
10. Pack an emergency kit for yourself and/or passengers.
Being stuck out in the cold is never fun and potentially dangerous. You will want to ensure that you are protected while waiting for help. Some of the things that you should include in your kit are:
* Snack foods
* Bottles of water
* Phone charger or portable charging battery
Additional Items to Get Your Vehicles Ready For Winter
You may also want to make sure that you have the following items available before winter arrives when winterizing your vehicle:
* Ice scraper/snow remover
* Extra pair of gloves or mittens
* First aid kit
* Pair of dry socks in case your feet get wet or too cold
How Much Does it Cost To Winterize a Vehicle?
The cost of winterizing your vehicle will all depend on how much you need to do to get your car ready. Many mechanic shops have a special package where they will top your fluids and get your car ready for winter for a set price.
You can expect to pay between $100 and $400 per tire if you purchase snow tires. To save money over time, consider purchasing “winter rims” and have your snow tires mounted on these rims. That way, you can change them each year at home instead of mounting and remounting them each year.
Staying Safe During Winter
Knowing how to winterize your car each year will help keep you safe. When your car is ready for freezing temperatures, it will run better. Using snow tires can enhance your vehicle’s performance in the snow and ice. Having an emergency kit packed will help you stay warm if your car breaks down.
It is always worth the time and effort to winterize your vehicles. This can help extend the life of your car while keeping you and your family safe.
Always remember to run a VINsmart report on any used vehicle before making a purchase. A VINsmart report runs a complete history on the vehicle including whether it has ever been reported as stolen, involved in a major accident, or listed as a totaled vehicle.
VINsmart reports will also give you a registration history and mileage at registration. It reports any significant incidents related to the vehicle, such as being involved in a fire or flood.
When you are purchasing a used vehicle, the best way to ensure you make a good purchase is to know the vehicle’s complete history.