Winter can be incredibly tough not only on people but also on automobiles as well. Snow, sleet, road salt, and sleet can make it very tough for a person to keep their vehicle in good condition. Salt is always eating away at the car’s body, sleet and falling twigs can scratch or crack windshields, and the extreme cold can drain power from the car’s battery in no time flat. To help our readers protect their vehicle against the ravages of winter, we’ve decided to write this guide. This guide should help everyone prepare their car for the winter months and keep it running and looking good until spring.

Step One: Prepare Your Car Before Winter

The first step to keeping your car safe and secure during the cold winter months is to take a few moments to prepare it for the season. Below are some things that consumers should do before the winter to make sure that their car is in good condition as its heading into winter.

Check Engine Coolant And Change Oil

Antifreeze is one of the most important fluids in your car. It not only keeps the engine from overheating while its running, but it also prevents the engine from freezing when the vehicle is shut down. Plus, antifreeze is the way that the car delivers heat from the engine and routes it into the vehicle’s cabin for keeping the passengers warm, so it’s kind of important. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure that you not only add antifreeze to the engine according to the vehicle’s directions but that you also keep antifreeze on hand. And while you’re at it, make sure to change your oil and filter.

Check Your Tires

The next thing you’re going to want to do is to check your vehicle’s tires. You will want to make sure that your tires in good condition, that they have a good tread depth, and that they’re filled with the proper amount of air. Tire tread can be tested by using a penny and performing a “Lincoln Test.” This test involves inserting the penny into the tire’s tread with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing towards the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then you’ll need to replace your tires.

This is also a good time for you to install winter tires—if you can afford it. Winter tires provide the traction that the driver needs in snowy conditions and they’re made from a special rubber that’s resistant to freezing temperatures—allowing it to properly flex and grab the road.

Check Your Winter Windshield Wiper Fluid

The next step to ensuring that your car is ready for winter is to check the windshield wiper fluid. You not only want to make sure that your vehicle has enough windshield wiper fluid in it, but you’ll also want to make sure that it’s the right type of windshield wiper fluid. Before winter, use up your spring/summer wiper fluid and replace it with a winter windshield wiper fluid.

Step Two: Protect Your Vehicle During Winter 

The next thing we’d like to talk about is what you should do to keep your vehicle in good condition while it’s in the middle of the winter season. The following steps are something that everyone should think about when they’re maintaining their car for the winter season.

Wash Your Car Regularly

If you’re driving your vehicle on salt-treated roads and highways, then you’re going to want to make sure that you keep your car washed. Salt is extremely corrosive and will literally eat into the vehicle’s body if it’s not removed. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take the car to a car wash and wash away the dirt, grime, and excess road salt from your vehicle. This should be done, at a minimum, every 2 weeks.

Avoid Driving Through Puddles

It’s also a good idea to avoid the puddles that tend to form on roadways as snow and ice melt and then eventually refreeze as winter temperatures bounce below and above freezing. You don’t want to drive through these puddles because they’re likely high in salt concentrations and you never know what’s in the puddle. A pothole can be at the bottom of that puddle and that pothole can cause tire damage, bent rims, exhaust system damage, or engine damage.

Avoid Parking On The Street

It’s also a good idea to avoid parking on city streets. Parking on the street subjects your vehicle to salt being put down by city crews or even being dinged by city plows. Some people have also found their cars to be buried under a ton of snow when the plow has driven by. That’s why it’s a good idea to park in a driveway or park the car in a garage whenever possible.

Protect Your Windshield

Another good idea is to protect your vehicle’s windshield from damage from snow, sleet, falling twigs, or hail. You can protect your windshield by using a windshield snow cover. Windshield snow covers are easy to install, do a great job of protecting the windshield, and when it’s time to drive the vehicle, they’re easy to take off and put away.

Avoid Driving In Deep Snow

A good piece of advice that we can give all of our readers is to avoid driving in deep snow. Not only can deep snow end up disabling a vehicle, leaving the driver and passengers stranded, but it could also potentially due damage to the body of the car.

Pack A Winter Kit In Your Car

A winter kit is a great addition to any car. A good winter kit for a vehicle is going to have a tire jack, tire iron, extra oil and antifreeze, extra windshield wiper solution, an ice scraper, a snow brush, a small snow shovel, a tool kit, and cat litter to provide traction. This will allow the vehicle to handle just about any road conditions and give the driver the tools they need to keep the vehicle running.