Winterize Your Car

winter tireThe change of season affects everything around us, including your vehicle. Give your car or truck the attention it needs before winter sets in to make sure it runs smoothly even during a heavy snowfall. Follow these easy steps to winterize your car so you can just hop in and drive off this winter.


Tires lose pressure as the temperature drops, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the tire pressure during the winter months. Check the tread depth and consider replacing worn out tires with winter tires; especially if your area experiences a lot of snowfall. Winter tires are suppler so they provide better traction on snow covered roads. Higher tire pressure (3-5 psi higher than normal) is recommended to give your car increased stability to offset the reduced responsiveness.


Your car battery has to crank out more power during winter as accessories like blowers, wipers, heated seats and rear defoggers work overtime to keep you comfortable and safe. Sub-freezing temperatures reduce the cranking power of your battery as the thickened oil in a cold engine is difficult to turn over.

Disconnect the cables to clean the terminals if you see any white corrosive deposits on them; while you’re at it, clean the cable connectors, too, using a wire brush or a special battery terminal brush. Batteries more than three years old should be serviced or replaced to avoid unforeseen power stoppages.


Take your car to the auto repair shop if your brakes make a squeaking sound, your car pulls to one side when braking, or the brake pedal sinks to the floor when you press on it. Take special care of your anti-lock braking system as it helps reduce skidding and maintains control in slippery conditions. Remove unnecessary items from your trunk as extra weight in the trunk will put extra pressure on the brakes and affects how quickly they respond.

Wipers and Lights

Changing your wiper blades is the easiest, least expensive way to make sure you‘re safe during a downpour or snowstorm. Consider installing wiper blades made especially for winter use. Check and keep your washer reservoir filled with special de-icer washer fluid for winter use. Use an ice scraper to clean off ice stuck to the windshield on a frosty morning to keep your wipers in good working condition.

Test to see if all your lights – including fog, brake and emergency and turn signal lights – are working properly.

Emergency Safety Kit

A roadside safety kit is an invaluable addition to your car, especially during the winter season when car breakdowns are more common. A good safety kit is easy to assemble and doesn’t take up much space. You can also buy preassembled safety kits designed to counter every emergency situation. Items to consider including in your car safety kit include:

  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • First-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Hand tool kit
  • Tire chains
  • Blanket, warm clothes, hat and gloves
  • Bag of sand or ice melt crystals
  • Ice scraper
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Food and water

Preventive Maintenance

A pre-winter check-up done in the fall will help take care of the things you may not be able to do yourself. This tune-up can cover an oil change, air filter replacement, valve adjustment, spark plug inspection, and tire rotation and balance.


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  1. COSTCO has THE best price for tires. Buy 3 get 1 free; LIFETIME FREE tire rotation; and they don't tell you to buy brakes or get a wheel alignment when you don't need it.

    1. In response to bettowinbill

      Costco is a great place for tires especially when they have the rebate promotion plus rebate on installation. Sears has some great deals online ..sometimes clearance plus stackable discounts.....just got to watch for them but it usually happens when you don't need tires LOL....

    2. In response to bettowinbill

      Costco has no incentive to push for brakes or alignments during a tire purchase because they don't perform those services

  2. Sears has the best price on winter tires. We shopped around and, since we don't have a Tire Rack in Montana or Idaho, we found the best deal on Blizzak winter tires at Sears. The price was better than Firestone and Wal-Mart and all our other local Bridgestone dealers. There were some problems, though, with the service. Overall, we were satisfied; but there were several glitches and problems. Robert is happy with his new tires, but not happy with the installation. Robert, your customer, bought a brand-new car and needed a set of winter tires for it. We made the purchase online to take advantage of the AUTO50 online-only promotional $50 off any automotive order over $500 -- and in the end, it is not clear that we actually got the $50 savings deal. Also, the web site charged us an $8 tire disposal fee and we could not remove the fee from the check-out basket. This is a brand-new car with brand-new all-season radials which we have every intention of keeping for next summer. Why charge us a disposal fee for tires that we are keeping? So the next problem was discovered after the winter tires were installed and the job was supposed to be done. The automotive technician had taken the liberty of getting into the optional anti-theft lug nut kit and swapping the factory lug nuts for the optional anti-theft lug nuts. Robert felt that he should have been asked first if that's what he had wanted done. Furthermore, the automotive technician failed to return the special lug nut tool to the kit and, instead, must have left it sitting on the spare tire. Finally, the automotive technician threw away the special cosmetic decorative plastic lug nut covers that came with the car for upgraded appearance. Who does that? So, in summary, Robert is happy with his winter tires; but he wishes that he had simply picked up the tires at Sears and then taken them to the Volkswagon dealership to have them mounted and balanced and actually put onto the car there, where he bought the car, just a week ago.

    1. In response to 6ywd8pacpa

      Too bad about your tire purchase problems which could happen anywhere. Next time keep both eyes on the job to avoid a bad experience and take note of all lugs, lock nuts, missing parts and over tightened lug nuts.


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