How to Winterize Your Car and Survive Winter

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Winter mornings and starting cars, two things that appear to hate each other. The mounting issues that arise with your vehicle during the winter can seem never-ending. Your brakes aren’t efficient on the ice, the battery is dead, or your tires are low are common issues to strike in the dead of winter.


An accident in the winter, in deep snow, can be devastating. If you become stuck in your car, what happens if you have no food, no water, no heat or no blankets? In this dire situation, it is easy to become scared and panic. However, there are steps you can take to not only keep your car running smoothly but can also help you out in an emergency winter situation.


Replacing Fluids


It is essential that the fluids in your car are maintained. Some of the fluids to consider are: Coolant is especially important at all times. Coolant makes sure that water does not freeze in the radiator. You can find the correct mixture between water/coolant in your owner’s manual. In the winter, many experts suggest switching to thinner oil if the temperatures dip below freezing. Your windshield can become a dusty cloudy of debris in the winter. Salt used to melt road snow and ice can impact the windshield significantly. Always be sure to have enough fluid to clear your line of sight.


Inspect and Replace Tires


Tires are an important part of surviving the winter. Tires with worn tread or splits, cracks and tiny holes can come especially dangerous when paired with the snow and ice. Always remember to have your tires inspected and replaced before that big winter storm hits.




Most people do not realize that it isn’t only their engine that has a hard time starting in the winter, but their battery as well. A bad connection, faulty wires, a low charged battery, or low battery fluid could all be culprits. Be sure to have each section of the battery thoroughly examined. A battery that is low on fluid can be filled with distilled water through the cap on the top of the battery.


Frozen Doors


The DMV website urges that drivers keep a can of glycerin in the car to unfreeze door handles to ensure that they do not become frozen out of their vehicle. You can opt for using warm water when at home. But if you are out and about, you can easily become stranded outside of your car without the proper equipment.


Emergency Kit


Finally, the most important thing for a driver to have during the winter is an emergency kit. Howstuffworks has a great list of things to include in your emergency kit. Some of these include:


  • Flashlight
  • Ice Scrapper
  • Water
  • Blankets
  • Kitty Litter or Sand
  • Coolant
  • Snacks


These items can ensure that if you get stuck, you have a way to survive. Regular maintenance, a plan, and being prepared can mean the difference in life or death in dire situations such as that of a winter break down.