How to Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather

Guide for how to prepare your car for winter weather

Drivers in Waterford, Michigan know that when winter comes it means slippery roads, potholes galore and frigid temps.  The last thing anyone wants is to be broke down on the side of the road, in freezing cold weather, so we put together this guide to help you prepare your car for winter weather.


Grab Your Owner’s Manual

The owner’s manual is a valuable resource to really understanding how your car or truck works and it includes vehicle maintenance schedule recommendations.  These recommendations are guidelines of when and how often different things on your car need to be flushed, filled, and replaced, as well as, a variety of useful info like the meanings of different dashboard lights

Don’t have a car manual?  A great resource for finding your vehicle’s manual online is:  Type in the year, make and model of your vehicle into the search bar on the right or click on the logo and follow the options to choose your car to bring up the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

For newer vehicles (2010 and newer), check out this blog post from  Scroll down the page to view each manufacturer with a link to the owner’s manual resource links.


Check Your Coolant Levels

Coolant systems need to be regularly maintained for performance and safety.  A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water help to keep your vehicle from overheating and freezing.  Make sure that your car is turned off and the radiator cap is completely cool before removing the lid.


Mechanic testing car battery

Test Your Battery

Car batteries typically last between two and six years, depending on where you live.  Here in Waterford, Michigan, they will last a little longer than average with proper maintenance because of the milder climate.

Electric and hybrid car batteries can last up to 8 years if being maintained on a regular basis.

To test your car battery, check out this simple “how to” from wikihow which includes short, simple to follow instructions with photos or call us at (248) 674-3985 to make an appointment to have it tested.


Snow Tires

Having a set of snow tires has many advantages.  The tires are specially designed to channel snow, ice and water away from the tire’s surface, allowing for better contact between the tires and the road.

No matter what kind of tires you purchase for your vehicle, you always want to purchase them in sets of four.  This allows your tires to be uniform across all four tires and improve your car’s stability, handling and overall safety.

Good winter tires range between $70-$200+ per tire and does not include tire rotation.


Tire Inspection

Tire Pressure Monitoring System Light Illuminated With the changing temperatures, air pressure can decrease or expand depending on the temperature outside by as much as 1 psi per 10 degrees, leaving your tires over or under inflated and unsafe.

Most newer vehicles have TPMS installed.  TPMS means Tire Pressure Monitoring System and it does just like it sounds…it monitors the air pressure in your tires.  If your tires are under inflated, the sensor will illuminate on your dashboard.

If you have an older vehicle, you can use a manual gauge or one of those super cool stations that auto-inflate your tires to the correct psi.  If you use one of these stations (that can usually be found at your Speedway), make sure you check what your tire psi should be and set the air pressure on the station.

You can find your vehicle’s specific psi requirements on the inside of the driver’s side door.  See image below.


Car Emergency Kit

Having an emergency kit in your vehicle is a good idea no matter what time of year but even more so in the winter months.

Most car emergency kits you can buy at your local Walmart or on Amazon contain jumper cables, tow strap, gloves, blanket, flashlight with batteries, road flares and more.  Check the package in store or description online for all items contained within the kit.

You can DIY a car emergency kit like The Survival Mom, who wrote this super thorough blog post for Allstate’s blog: The Ultimate Emergency Car Kit: How to Equip Yourself for Most Any Calamity. The Survival Mom leaves nothing to chance and includes items for literally any sticky situation you can find yourself in.


Make Sure Your Wiper Blades Are Working Properly

It’s hard enough to drive in wintery conditions but when your windshield wipers start leaving behind streaks of dirt or missing whole sections of water and snow on your windshield, it can get dangerous fast.

Check to make sure your wiper blades are functioning properly and that you have enough windshield wiper fluid for your trip before you head out.  It’s a simple and safe way to make sure you can safely see any obstructions and/or brake lights on your drive.

Additionally, you can purchase winter wiper blades to make it easier to break through the ice and snow on your windshield.


Wrap Up

It’s always good to be prepared when it comes to you and your passenger’s safety.  If you’re not sure about your tire pressure, whether or not your heater is working or the right wipers for winter for your car, give us a call and chat with one of our auto care specialists at (248) 674-3985 or click here to schedule an appointment.