Winter Car Care & Maintenance

Written By | Doreen Almirol | 20+ years CA DMV Licensed Driving Instructor


Winter transforms the landscape into a snowy wonderland, but it also brings challenges for drivers. Navigating icy roads and braving cold temperatures requires special attention to your vehicle’s maintenance. In this article, we’ll delve into the most searched topic on winter car maintenance, offering essential tips to ensure your vehicle is ready for the frosty season.

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1 | Check Your Tires

The condition of your tires is crucial during winter. Ensure they have adequate tread depth to provide traction on slippery surfaces. Consider switching to winter tires for enhanced grip, and regularly check tire pressure to optimize performance.

2 | Battery Health

Cold weather can be tough on car batteries. Test your battery’s health and replace it if needed. Cold temperatures reduce a battery’s efficiency, so a strong battery is essential for a reliable start in winter

3 | Antifreeze and Coolant Levels

Maintain the right levels of antifreeze and coolant to prevent your engine from freezing. This simple step protects your engine from the harsh winter conditions and ensures it runs smoothly.

4 | Check Your Lights

Days are shorter in winter, and visibility is crucial. Inspect all exterior lights, including headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Replace any bulbs that are dim or burnt out to ensure optimal visibility on dark winter evenings.

5 | Windshield Wipers and Fluid

Visibility is key during winter driving. Replace worn-out windshield wipers and keep your windshield washer fluid topped up with a winter-grade solution. This helps prevent the washer fluid from freezing on the windshield.

6 | Brake Inspection

Ensure your brakes are in top condition. Winter roads can be unpredictable, and having responsive brakes is vital for safety. Have a professional inspection to ensure your braking system is reliable.

7 | Engine Oil

Switch to winter-grade oil for smoother engine performance in colder temperatures. Regularly check your oil levels and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate oil viscosity for winter driving.

8 | Emergency Kit Preparation

Assemble a winter emergency kit for your vehicle. Include items like a blanket, extra warm clothing, non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. Being prepared for unexpected situations is crucial during winter travel.

9 | Undercarriage Protection

Winter roads are often treated with salt, which can lead to rust on the undercarriage of your vehicle. Regularly wash your car, including the undercarriage, to remove salt and prevent corrosion.

10 | Plan Ahead for Services

Consider scheduling a winter maintenance check with a professional mechanic. They can assess the overall health of your vehicle and address any potential issues before they become major problems.

Winter car maintenance is about more than just preparing your vehicle; it’s about ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. By following these essential tips, you’ll be well-equipped to handle winter driving conditions and enjoy a smooth and safe journey through the season. Remember, a well-maintained car is a reliable companion on winter roads. Stay safe out there!