LIFE YOUR WAY
Deep snow has been shoveled, cleared and piled along the sides of the front yard footpath of this colonial style home. Two small holiday Christmas trees at the end of the walkway are decorated with Christmas ornaments and wide, bright red ribbon Christmas bows. Heavy blizzard snow continues to come down hard and blow around in all directions - already starting to re-coat the slippery surface and cover the fresh footprints. Nothing surprising here - just another early January winter snow storm in a rural suburban residential district neighborhood near Rochester, New York.

Prepare to Enjoy Winter – 5 Cold-Weather Car Clues

WINTER IS COMING

EPISODE II: 5 COLD-WEATHER CAR CLUES

The seasons, they are a-changing.

Whether you live in New England, the Southwest, or areas in between, Americans can’t escape the coming of winter, even though how winter is defined may differ.  Your car also faces these same changes in seasons – with a little planning and effort, you can help prepare for…and be protected from…this upcoming winter.

Here are 5 ‘auto-matics’ to keep your car winterized.A woman does the penny test on her tire treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, you need new tires.

  1. Give your tires the penny-test

Having sufficient tread on tires is a capitol idea in the winter. To check, take a penny and insert it with ‘heads’ pointing towards you and upside down. As Abe is inserted, if you can see the top of his head, you’re tread is worn and it may be time for new tires. Honest.

Also make sure the tires are properly inflated –trust the manufacturer’s specs listed in the car’s owner’s manual.

  1. Check the fluids

Just like an athlete, a car will perform optimally when the fluid levels are optimized. Anti-freeze is an obvious one for winter, but also be mindful of windshield fluid – keep an extra gallon in your trunk, as winter driving vision is essential to safety. Consider de-icing formulas particularly when temperatures drop below freezing (or even zero!).

And as always, get an oil-change with multi-point inspection before the really nasty weather is upon you – many of these levels can be checked and replaced at this time.

  1. Winter-ready wipers

And on the winter driving vision route, a multi-point inspection may indicate the need for new wipers. Winter can be particularly tough on wipers, new ones can be partially protected by flipping them up when parked outside and freezing rain or sleet is forecast. It makes cleaning off the windows that much easier – and actually looks like they’re waving “hello” when you come back to the car.

Clearing the snow off a cars windshield with a brush after a snow fall. The wiper blades were left in the up position to keep them from freezing to the windshield.

  1. Ice scrapers – one rule

The simplest rule for scraping ice and snow off of the vehicle’s windows – make sure you have one! This is an annual race of which comes first – remembering to move the scrapers back into the car from the garage OR the first ‘scrapable’ snow and ice occurring. Too often, winter wins.

  1. Prepare a winter emergency kit

Make sure you’re ready to face a potentially dangerous winter scenario with a well-stocked emergency kit. Remember to include as many of the following as possible:

  • Several heavy blankets
  • A strong flashlight with new batteries (and an extra set)
  • A small snow shovel
  • 5 pound bag of sand (or even kitty-litter)
  • Hearty, shelf-stable snacks (granola bars, crackers, etc.), plus water in an expandable container
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables

A note about the last item: really worth the investment of as little as $11.00 for a decent set of jumpers – just be certain to keep them in the back of your car – they don’t do much good sitting in the garage (from experience!).

Just like the cable TV show reminds, Winter Is Coming – make sure your car is protected with these simple winterizing steps.

LifeYourWay Editor

10 comments

  • If your vehicle sits outside When your expecting winter weather, plastic grocery bags work great on your mirrors to prevent ice build- up. I’ve even used them on my wipers, front&rear.
    I now use a full windshield screen that covers the windshield & wipers and secures by closing the doors on end tabs. Works great and saves TONS of time cleaning off snow&ice.

  • Since I do not drive often enough to put wear on my tires I was told by my Mom who worked at a tire company for more than 35 years that even if the treads don’t appear to show that you need new tires the tires can start rotting out after a period of time and I checked on Google to confirm her statement.

    • @Sherry – the old saying goes “when the rubber meets the road…” important to maintain traction in those tires.

  • Love your articles on prepping your home and car. How about winter prep for your animals? This article might include domestic and farm animals. Install a cat door, have doggie coats on hand, winterize your chicken coop etc…and most importantly, do not leave your animals outside.
    Thank you.

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