Essential Steps for Winterizing Your Vehicle

Nov 06, 2023

Many regions of the state recently experienced the first cold front of the season. One of the essential tasks often overlooked during this time is winterizing your vehicle. Ensuring your vehicle is ready for the cold, icy roads can prevent breakdowns and accidents, keeping you and your family safe throughout the season.
         Keep reading for eight steps to winterize your vehicle and make sure it’s ready to navigate the winter landscape.
Step 1: Check your tires
         The first line of defense against icy roads and slippery conditions is your tires. Make sure they have adequate tread depth and are fully inflated. Regularly test the tire pressure throughout the winter, as cold weather can cause it to drop. Also, if your budget allows, consider switching to winter or all-season tires for better traction in snow and ice.
Step 2: Change the fluids
         Inspect your vehicle’s fluid levels and change if necessary. Ensure you have the right viscosity of oil for colder temperatures; a 5W-30 oil is often recommended as it will give your vehicle better protection in winter weather. Check the levels of antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer fluid, and brake fluid to make sure they are topped off at appropriate levels. Windshield washer fluid, specifically, should be rated for freezing temperatures to keep it from freezing on your windshield.
Step 3: Test the battery
         Don’t overlook your vehicle’s battery. Check your battery’s age and life cycle and clean any corrosion off the terminals to ensure it doesn’t lose connection on an especially cold night. Consider replacing the battery if it’s older or showing signs of weakness.
Step 4: Check your engine and heating system
         If you haven’t had to use them yet, go ahead and make sure your heater and defroster are working correctly. Have a mechanic inspect the engine, heating system, and belts for any issues that might cause problems in cold weather. Many of our Co-ops have auto shops that would be glad to help you with this task.
Step 5: Protect the exterior
         Ice, snow, and road salt can be especially rough on vehicles. Salt has a corrosive effect, so go ahead and give your car a thorough wash and a fresh coat of wax to protect it from salt buildup. You may consider purchasing a protective spray for your vehicle’s exterior and under its body. Also, check and replace worn-out wiper blades to ensure clear visibility during rain, sleet, and snow.
Step 6: Protect the interior
         Ice, snow, and road salt can also be especially messy to the interior of your vehicle. Consider purchasing all-weather rubber floor mats with deep grooves to hold the moisture and make it easy to rinse off mud. Many Co-ops have a selection of car mats to choose from.
Step 7: Pack an emergency kit
         Put together an emergency kit that includes items such as a flashlight, blanket, gloves and other warm clothing, water, a first aid kit, a portable phone charger, jumper cables, and an ice scraper. Also, make sure your vehicle’s spare tire is inflated and that you have all the tools necessary to change it.
Step 8: Plan for maintenance
         Winter weather can be tough on a vehicle, so it’s essential to keep up with regular maintenance. Schedule services according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure your vehicle performs well throughout the season.
   By taking these simple steps to winterize your vehicle, you’re not only prolonging the life of your vehicle but also safeguarding your safety. Your local Co-op is equipped with many of the items you need to stay safe on the roads, and many offer auto care and tire shops for full-service care. Just call your local store for more information! Find the nearest location here.
For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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