Prepare Your Car For Winter

As cold weather approaches, it's time to start thinking about what you need to do to winterize your car. This way, the cold weather doesn't do much damage to your vehicle, and you are able to drive safely during harsh weather conditions. So, check out these tips to learn how to prepare your vehicle for the cold winter weather.

Oil Change

It's especially important to maintain your car's regular oil-change routine throughout the winter, because cold weather can thicken the oil, making it difficult for the oil to flow between all of the engine parts when you first start your car. Because of this, you should make sure your mechanic uses winter-weight motor oil when the weather starts to get colder, especially if you live in an extremely cold climate. In addition to using the right oil, you also need to reconsider the frequency of oil changes during the winter months. Motor oil gets thick and gooey when it's dirty, and the cold weather makes it worse. So, during the winter, have your oil changed on the low end of the recommended mileage range for oil changes listed in your owner's manual.


Before you drive in snowy or icy conditions, you need to make sure there is enough tread on your tires. If there isn't, you may not be able to get enough traction on an icy road to make your car come to a complete stop. Tires are considered "bald" once the depth of the tire tread reaches 2/32-inches deep. However, Consumer Reports suggests that you start shopping for new tires once the tread reaches 4/32-inches deep if you drive in winter weather conditions.

You can use a tire tread depth gauge to check the thread depth of your tires, but if you don't have one handy, you can also use a quarter. To check the tread depth using a quarter, slide the quarter one of your tire's tread grooves so that Washington's head is upside down and facing you. If a portion of the tread groove covers Washington's head, you have more than 4/32-inches of tread left on your tire. Keep in mind, your tires have more than one tread groove one them, so make sure you check several different grooves.

If you have enough tread on your tires to make it through the winter, you should have your tires rotated and aligned. Rotating the tires keeps them all from wearing down on the same spot over a long period of time, which means you'll get more use out of your tires. If you don't have your tires rotated, at the very least have your mechanic do a wheel alignment. A wheel alignment keeps your tires pointed in the right direction, and makes your car drive smoother.

Heater, Defroster, and Windshield Wipers

Take a few minutes to check your car's heater and defroster to make sure they are both working well. Also, swap out your windshield wiper blades for winter blades. Winter windshield wiper blades are wider and stronger, making it easier to remove heavy snow from your windshield.

Preparing your car for winter doesn't take much time, and it helps keeps your car running well throughout the winter season. By taking the time to get your oil changed, make sure your tires have enough tread, your heater and defroster are working properly, and changing your windshield wiper blades, your shouldn't have to worry about having car problems during the cold weather season.

To learn more, contact a mechanic like D Wells Automotive Service.