Staying safe on the road is based on much more than just paying attention and following the rules. Along with that, driving in the winter is no joke. Splash and Go Car Wash put together our top winter car tips to ensure you and your car are ready for the colder months. Keeping your car in good condition year round is necessary. For example, it is common practice to check the oil, water, and tire pressure before going on a long journey. But, how much car maintenance do you do in preparation for those extreme weather months?

In light of staying safe and protecting the investment you made, here are effective tips and advice for winterizing your car.

10 Winter Car Tips and Tricks

1. Pay Special Attention To Tires

The extreme cold weather tips start with the direct connection between you and the road, namely the tires. If the condition of the tires is not up to standard or they are compromised in some way, you increase the odds of losing control. 

How can tires be compromised? For starters, extremely cold weather can reduce tire pressure. This means that a 10-degree temperature drop can result in a pressure drop of about 1 psi. The result is less control when driving. 

Another issue for non-winter tires involves the change in rubber compounds. The rubber compounds of a non-winter tire are likely to harden when you live in areas where temperatures are constantly at or below freezing point. And once again, you give up control when driving. You can even consider snow tires to be extra safe.

check tires for your winter car checklist

2. Wash On A Regular Basis 

It is not just the performance of your car you should be concerned about. Preparing your car for winter also means to take measures to protect the paint. Dust, snow, road salt, and rain can contribute to erosion and damage your car’s exterior. Unfortunately, most car owners avoid washing during winter because it is not exactly a pleasant experience. But keep in mind that when gunk starts collecting, it can lead to rust. And rust is a very big enemy. 

Make sure you wash the car regularly. Taking your vehicle to Splash and Go Car Wash consistently will keep your car’s exterior in great condition. Learn all about our services and car wash club membership. If you want to keep your car’s shine during the coming winter, it is important to wash and wax regularly.

3. Mix Water With Antifreeze 

Next on our list of winter car tips is to mix water with antifreeze. When the water in the car radiator freezes, you can turn the key all you want, but nothing is going to happen. This is usually the case when you try to start the car early in the morning and after a cold night. The best way to address this problem is by mixing antifreeze with the water, which should leave you with 50/50 of both in the radiator. Some prefer a mixture of 30/70, but you can discuss this with the mechanic that handles servicing your car.

4. Replace The Wipers

Just like the tires, your vision of the road should never be compromised. But with rain and snowstorms during winter, maintaining a clear view can be more than a little challenging. Hence the reason for replacing wiper blades at least once a year. And, if possible, every six months. In certain areas of the country where the weather gets really extreme, drivers are forced to replace them even more frequently. 

Speaking of clear visibility and winter driving tips, always make sure there is enough washer fluid to use during snowstorms.

replacing car wipers for winterizing your car

6. More Gas In The Tank 

Some winter driving tips are pretty simple. With more gas in the tank, there is less room for condensation. With less room for condensation, the smaller the odds of struggling with a freezing fuel line. Also, you do not want to get stranded in the winter without gas, do you? You never know what is waiting on the open road, and you might run into a situation where you have to keep the engine running. Keeping the engine running is impossible without sufficient gas in the tank. 

The more gas in the tank when you take off during the colder months, the better. 

7. Maybe Replace The Battery

Expect the car battery to use extra power during the cold winter months. In other words, if you notice that the battery is showing signs of dying on you, we recommend replacing the battery before temperatures start to drop. It is simply not worth the risk to get stuck in the middle of winter due to battery failure. At the same time, check the battery water. Without enough battery water, the cells of the battery are bound to burn out and prevent you from driving anywhere.

8. Belts, Hoses, And Plugs

Continuing our list of winter car tips is to check the belts, hoses, and plugs. The mechanical elements deserve just as much attention as the rest of the car, if not more. Some good examples include belts (timing and fan), plugs, and hoses. These are vulnerable to extreme temperature changes and they can stop functioning if not regularly checked. Even if these do not malfunction or block up during the winter, the cold can make the fan belt screech while you drive. 

replace your car battery before the winter

9. Winter Car Tips – Keep An Emergency Bag 

It is impossible to control everything that happens on the road and to your car. Yes, you can take measures to reduce the risk of a breakdown or accident, but these situations still occur and can leave you stranded. This is why it is recommended to keep an emergency bag in the car, filled with things like a medical-aid kit, flares, water, a blanket, etc. Also, keep jumper cables and basic tools in the trunk as well. 

10. Hone Your Driving Skills 

Last, but not least, is to hone your driving skills. Do you know how to handle the car when it is sliding? Are you confident driving up or down-hill on a very slippery road? If you’re not, it is time to practice what to do during the scary situations colder seasons bring. 

Use these winter car tips to keep yourself, your family, and your car safe this winter. While it is easy to be lazy and disregard the winter car maintenance checklist, it is safer and smarter to take all our winter driving tips to heart. Go into the colder season with confidence and preparation.