Preparing for Winter Driving

There's no getting around winter. Instead of dreading it, prepare for it. The changing of the seasons is a great time to check out what your car needs to gear up for cold, wet, winter driving conditions. Do this before the first flake falls because small problems you ignored during warmer months could grow worse, leaving you stranded when the temperature plummets. A few simple tips could keep your car running all winter long.

  • Take your car to a mechanic and check out the following: battery, antifreeze level, thermostat, heater, brakes, and defroster.
  • Check to make sure your tires have adequate tread. If the treads are worn, replace them. Better yet, exchange them for a set of snow tires such as Bridgestone Blizzaks, which have treads that provide better traction and are equipped to handle extreme winter driving conditions.
  • Make a visual inspection of your vehicle's lights. Make sure the front and rear lights are operational, especially the car's flashing hazard lights.
  • Often in the winter, the windshield wiper fluid may freeze. Instead of toughing it out until spring, exchange the fluid with one made especially to spray in freezing conditions.
  • Similarly, purchase winter wiper blades to cut through snow and ice instead of using regular ones throughout the year.
  • Check the spray nozzles of your windshield-washer system. Sometimes, they get blocked by wax or debris. Use a needle or pin to clear blocked nozzles.
  • Road salt commonly used during winter can damage your car's paint. Rinsing it off every once in a while can help, but a good wash and coat of fresh wax will go a long way in preventing corrosion and keep your vehicle looking like new.

These tips will prepare your car for a winter drive, but check the next page to see what you'll need to pack for yourself.