10 Tips To Help Prepare Your Car For Winter’s Worst

10 Tips To Help Prepare Your Car For Winter’s Worst


Used car retailer CarMax offers timely advice

Winter weather has been breaking out in some areas of the country recently with much of the nation expected to be within its icy grip in January and February. Some people thrive in cold weather, while others seem to be ill prepared to manage every wintry blast that comes their way.

Prepare your car for winter driving now in order to avoid this problem.

Prepare your car for winter driving now in order to avoid this problem.

Your car can thrive in all kinds of weather including the harshest wintry conditions manageable. However, there are some things you should do right now in order to ensure that your next trip doesn’t expose underlying problems which can lead to expensive repair bills or leave you stranded.

CarMax Tips

Thanks to the work of automotive service technicians at CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, the following ten maintenance tips can help your prevent a serious problem this winter:

1. Check your anti-freeze. The best ratio of anti-freeze to water is 50/50. The No. 1 cause of engine-related breakdowns is cooling system failure. To prevent those breakdowns, have your cooling system flushed every two years.

2. Replace your windshield wiper blades twice a year. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with freeze resistant wiper fluid (plain water and standard windshield washer fluid will freeze) and keep an extra gallon in the trunk.

3. Check your battery. If the battery is more than three years old, have a technician test its capacity. Have the alternator tested at the same time. Make sure the battery terminal ends are corrosion-free.

4. Check your tire pressure. Check the pressure when the tires are cold, and set the pressure to the car manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific tires. When the weather turns cold, the air inside the tire will contract and the pressure will drop.

5. Look at the tread depth on your tires. Put a penny headfirst between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s hair, it’s time to replace the tire.

6. Check your spare tire. Make sure it has the proper air pressure and tread depth and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in the vehicle.

7. Make sure your lights, heater and defrosters are working properly.

8. Check all rubber hoses and belts to ensure they are not damaged. Coolant hoses wear from the inside out. Inspect for heavy cracks or chunking in the belts. Alternatively, have a professional inspect all hoses and belts.

9. Have your car’s brake system checked. If you haven’t had the system inspected in the last six months, have this performed.

10.Assemble a winter emergency kit for the trunk of your vehicle. It should include a blanket, extra boots and gloves, an ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, flares, a small snow shovel, a flashlight, kitty litter (for traction when stuck in snow) and bottled water.

Fill ‘Er Up!

One more point that CarMax makes that I always tell everyone before they set out on a trip during the winter months: keep your gas tank filled. Running out of gas in the summer is an inconvenience, during winter that can prove deadly.

Source: CarMax

Adv. — Are you in the market for a new car? If so, you can receive a car quote/find a dealer or find favorable auto loan financing to help save money on your ride.


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Categories: Autos Express


  1. Jose
    Jose 4 December, 2009, 12:32

    Does anyone else think that with the growing intricacy of cars and technology, that there is no longer a car mechanic but instead a car technician?

  2. Matthew C. Keegan
    Matthew C. Keegan Author 4 December, 2009, 12:34

    Good point, Jose. Yesterday’s car mechanic has morphed into today’s car technician. Clearly, cars are a lot more complicated as they include sophisticated technology requiring mechanics to keep up with their education and expand into other areas.

  3. Gabriel Smith
    Gabriel Smith 29 November, 2010, 10:57

    Wear safety eye wear and outfits and take away all jewelry when checking out your battery and charging system. Jewelry is a good conductor of electricity and is not recommended. Most batteries wear out every three to five years and has to be changed. Always change your battery with an equal replacement battery to assure proper operation.

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