Skip to content

How to Winterize Your Car

By John Funk, December 6, 2022

Extreme winter conditions can have a drastic impact on your car. Usually, road conditions change when the temperature drops, so your car may need extra care to get you to your destination safely. Snow, ice, dirt, debris, and road salt residue can all cause several problems to your beloved vehicle. Therefore, you should winterize your car to protect it from hazardous winter elements.

Winterizing a car depends on several factors, including the place where you live, the model of the vehicle you own, the age of the vehicle, and so on. It is true that there is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to the winterizing process; however, our post will illuminate some basic steps that you can implement to get your car ready for colder months.

How to Winterize Your Car

Here are some tips to winterize your car that will help you prepare your vehicle for the cold weather, thereby ensuring that your travels in tough winter conditions remain stress-free:

Check the Tire Pressure and Switch to Winter Tires if Possible

  • Hazardous road conditions in winter can affect your tires. Tire pressure goes down whenever there is a drop in temperature. You should check your tire’s PSI (pounds per square inch) regularly either by looking at the tire pressure monitoring system or by using a tire pressure gauge. Whenever the temperature drops by 10 degrees Fahrenheit, tire pressure goes down by one pound per square inch. Fill up your tires when this happens to the recommended PSI number (read the owner’s manual), preferably 32 to 35 PSI.
  • Inspect your tires to check the tread quality. If the treads are worn down, it can affect the performance of your vehicle, especially on slippery roads, ice, and snow.
  • Switching to a set of dedicated winter tires from all-season tires will be a very good idea, since winter tires have tread patterns and rubber compounds that provide extra safety in slippery conditions.

Check the Battery and Keep it in Good Condition

  • You may love the winter season, but your car’s battery hates the cold weather. Winter conditions make it difficult for engines to start. Remember, a car battery performs best when the outside temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You should check your battery regularly, as the connections may get corroded when the temperature drops. This can affect the chemical reactions within the battery, slowing down electricity and making it difficult for it to produce max power.

Read the Fluid Level and Check the Engine Oil

  • Remove the plastic caps on top of the battery so that you can read the fluid level. You should add distilled water if the fluid is low.
  • If you are using a maintenance-free battery instead of a conventional one, you can either read the owner’s manual to find out how to check the fluid level or you can get your battery tested at a service station by professionals.
  • Do you know why the cold weather makes it harder for the engine to start? It is because engine oil thickens in cold temperatures, making it difficult for parts to turn and the engine to start.
  • Read your owner’s manual so that you can plan your oil change accordingly and use the right engine oil. Make sure that your engine has the right grade of oil for the cold weather. Thinner oil would be the right choice for cold weather.

Add Coolant to Resist Freezing

  • To prevent corrosion build-up in the cooling system, it should be flushed at least every two years. The cooling system should then be refilled with a mixture of antifreeze and water in a 50/50 ratio.
  • Antifreeze or coolant is a liquid that absorbs engine heat. It may not be able to keep the water in the engine from freezing; however, it does lower the temperature at which water can freeze. It cools the engine and prevents overheating by dissipating the engine heat through the radiator.
  • If there is less amount of coolant in the system, the engine can be affected. Therefore, you should check the coolant level in the radiator’s reservoir tank regularly.
  • If you live in a region where temperatures regularly drop down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you should read the instructions on the coolant bottle to see what the correct dilution should be to ensure maximum protection. This is very important, otherwise, the wrong ratio could cause the coolant to freeze at a certain temperature.

Monitor Brakes and Check Wiper Blades, Belts, and Hoses

  • Does it take a longer time for your vehicle to stop once the brakes are applied? If yes, then your brake pads have worn down and need immediate attention. Your car’s brakes need to be in good operating condition, especially during the winter season when the roads are in slippery conditions due to snow, ice, water, and slush. You should also check if the anti-lock brake system is activated or not.
  • Wiper blades are crucial, as snow, slush, and salt can build up on a car’s windshield in a short span of time in winter, blinding the driver. If the wiper blades are worn out, you should replace them immediately.
  • Cold temperatures can weaken wires and belts, causing cracks and wear. You should inspect these parts and also check hoses for leaks and cables for lubrication. If you find any faulty part, you should replace it with a new one.

Additional Tips

  • Sometimes, water can get into your vehicle’s doors and trunk locks. Water may freeze due to the cold weather, locking you out of your car. To avoid this kind of situation, you should lubricate the locks using a silicone spray or door-lock lubricant.
  • Many car owners avoid keeping an emergency kit in their car as it takes up space. Keeping an emergency kit is a must, especially in winter. An ice scraper, batteries, tire patch kit, tire inflator, water, and so on are a few items that you should have while traveling.
  • You can defrost your windows and windshield by spraying them with a mixture of water and vinegar. The vinegar’s acidity can prevent ice and frost build-up, making it easier to remove using an ice scraper.
  • If you want your car’s paint to last longer, you should guard it with a coat of spray wax.

Choose a Top-Quality Car Cover – The Seal Skin Cover

Sadly, your vehicle is susceptible to damage even when it is not in use. In fact, most damage occurs when it is parked. The hazardous elements of the winter season can cause severe damage to your vehicle, especially when it’s parked outdoors. A top-quality car cover acts as a barrier between your car and the elements.

At Seal Skin, we offer some of the best snow-resistant car covers on the market that can provide superior protection to your vehicle. Our semi-custom-fit covers provide much better protection than universal covers and are available at a much lower price when compared to custom covers.

You can call us at 800-915-0038 during our office hours (Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST) and we will help you find the right snow-resistant car cover that fits your needs and budget. We will also help you if you have any questions about our products, shipping policies, and exchange/refund policies.

Buy Car Covers