White car driving on a snowy road in winter

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Vehicle Winter Checklist

Winter is coming, and now’s the time to start preparing your car for the extreme drop in temperature and snow. From packing a winter emergency kit to swapping your current tires out for snow tires, here’s what you should do to be ready for another harsh winter.

[ READ MORE: Tips for Driving During Deer Season ]

Winter Emergency Kit

You should already have an emergency kit in your car just in case. If not, check out this list of essentials you should pack. Of course, you’ll need more for the winter season that you won’t need during warmer months. Make sure you add the following to your current emergency kit:

  • Snow brush and ice scraper
  • Snow shovel
  • Warm clothing (gloves, jacket, scarves, blankets, winter boots, etc.)
  • Bag of sand or non-clumping kitty litter (for extra traction)
Snow tires stacked on top of snow with snowy trees in the background

Install Snow Tires and Check Tire Tread

Living in Wisconsin, many drivers already know that all-season tires aren’t enough for the amount of snow we receive every year. Be sure to swap out your tires for snow tires for the winter months. While you’re at it, make sure it’s got plenty of tread.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Air will condense as temperature drops, which means that your tires won’t be at the proper pressure level once it starts getting colder. Check your tire pressure and top off to its optimal level.

Change Your Oil and Check Your Antifreeze Levels

Making sure your vehicle has fresh fluids at the correct levels before winter arrives is better than dealing with it in the bitter cold. Get your oil changed beforehand and make sure your car has enough antifreeze. Taking care of both will help your car withstand the cold better and protect your engine during these crucial months.

Mechanic replacing a car battery

Check Your Battery

Your car battery’s capacity will plummet in the intense cold. That is why you may hear of people having trouble starting their vehicle more frequently in the winter than in warmer months like summer. Check your battery by getting it tested and replace it if needed before winter.

Use Winter Windshield Wiper Fluid

You should use windshield wiper fluid designed to withstand low temperature levels for your vehicle in winter. If you don’t use a winter-grade wiper fluid, one of two scenarios may occur. First, the fluid gets frozen inside your vehicle, thus not allowing any to come out. Second, the fluid will come out, but it will freeze on your windshield as you are driving. This scenario is incredibly dangerous as you won’t be able to see well, so it’s best you avoid it altogether.

Check Your Heating System and Defroster

One of the last things you want is to not have enough heat to keep yourself warm and defrost your windows. Before winter, check your heating system and defroster. Get them fixed if they aren’t working properly.

For more posts like this, check out the Broadway Credit blog. Stay warm and safe this winter!