There are many ways you can prepare in advance for winter weather and the cold that comes with it. You can ask yourself things like should I get new wipers, do I have enough coolant, are my belts and hoses good, will my tires need replacing, and other important things.
Most of us don’t usually hit the store before the cold and winter arrives. You have to have a way to brush the snow and ice off the car, you should have a type of de-icer fluid and rock salt for the ground, gloves for cleaning off the car, and maybe rubber mats for the inside of the car.
1. Wiper Blade Replacement
I replace my wiper blades every 6 months (usually October and April) because they don’t make them like they used to. If you travel a lot you may need to do it more often. It depends on the blade and the type of wiper fluid you’re using.
Buying wiper blades last minute means you may not get a pair in the size you need because everyone else decides last minute when the blades go back in the stormy weather to go and get new ones. Get a set early and buy a spare pair and put them in the trunk in case you need to replace them.
Always buy and replace them in pairs. If you don’t, the one you replace looks great and then the other one goes bad shortly thereafter. It’s unnecessary aggravation to replace one and then 2 days later replace the other one. Just do it all at the same time.
2. Does Your Coolant Need Replacing?
You should check your owners manual owners manual in the index under fluids, coolant or maintenance will help you to find the information for that. Calling the service department at the dealer to find out how often your coolant needs to be flushed and replaced. You will need the VIN number of the vehicle to get that information.
Check with the dealership on the type of coolant you need for your vehicle if you can’t find it in the owners manual. It may not be something any garage can replace. The newer cars have different type coolant for each different brand of car. Volkswagen for example has purple coolant and Buick has Dexcool which is orange.
3. Snowbrushes, Cat Litter and Ice Melt
You’ll need a snowbrush and a scraper to clean the snow and ice off the vehicle. (I let my car run a few minutes on interior heat not front defrost and then use De-icer spray to get the ice to melt away.)
A. Snow brushes can be purchased anywhere. Wherever there is an auto parts store or a store with an automotive section, most of them carry these. You can also choose to purchase them online.
B. Cat Litter or Speedy Dry (same thing) is when you are on a surface that you get stuck on because of a lot of mud, snow or ice. Just put the cat litter down around the tires, make sure you take the Traction Control OFF (if you have traction control), put the car in LOW, and then move slowly forward or backward to get out of the place you’re stuck in.
C. Ice Melt works the same way as the cat litter/speedy dry but you ONLY use it on ICE. I use Driveway Heat as it works really fast. When you hear it snap, crackle and pop like cereal, then you know it’s working. Just give it a few minutes to break up. Still put the car in LOW, and move slowly.
4. Windshield Washer Fluid
I use either RainX or Prestone Windshield wash. I like the RainX as it has a wax type substance to help remove the ice from the windshield (after letting the car warm up first). Works good when you’re driving in freezing rain.
These products are also rated for below zero temperatures and will not freeze. Sorry folks but the blue stuff says it rated for below zero and it does freeze.
If you work the washer fluid and the wipers when you first get in the car, you could destroy your wiper blades and then have to buy new ones.
Make sure you take your tires to a good tire place to get them looked at. You aren’t going to want to purchase brand new tires if yours will make it through the winter and are rated for the weather.
There are snow tires, studded snows (sometimes you have to pay for the studs to be put in) and all season radials. It just depends on what is best for your car and what you are comfortable with.
A. Snow tires have huge treads to move through the snow. Only use these in the winter time as they as designed for mud, snow and slush. Driving them during the warmer weather might cost you less gas mileage.
B. Studded Snow tires are designed for snow and ice. By law, you can only use them during certain times of the year. If you get stopped, you might get a warning to remove them. If you don’t you could receive a ticket. The studs will tear up the roads in warmer weather.
C. All-Season Radial tires are for all seasons of the year. This does not mean it’s meant for all cars. I suggest you talk to your tire guys about them.
Take The Time
Take the time to get these things BEFORE winter arrives. These things will help you to keep organized and get ready for the winter weather. It will save you some serious aggravation in the long run.
I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.