How to Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather

Preparing Your Car For Winter

Come winter season, you’re not the only one who needs to be prepared for everything it may bring—if you’ve got your winter coats and boots out, and your daily maple latte fix, then great! But you also need to pay attention to your car as well, since it has needs and prepping to do of its own.

Before winter really hits your town, make sure to schedule a tune-up

It may already be too hard to get your car checked and tuned up when there’s five feet of snow on your driveway, so make sure to do this when the air’s only starting to get crisp. Remind your mechanic to check everything, from your oil to gas tank, to everything that’s lying in the hood. Do some inspection of your own—are all the external parts still good? What about the front and rear wipers? Everything still intact?

Replace parts that need replacing

If you suspect that your battery might be dying soon—batteries last an average of 2-3 years—replace them now. Check all your tires to see if their treads are still good. Have them inflated at least once a week. If the weather’s really bad in Oakland, make it a point to check them regularly. Make time to inspect the spare tire.

Check the heaters and defrosters. You might want to replace your regular wipers with winter wiper blades, and while you’re at it, buy some weather washer fluid.

Stock your trunk with the essentials

Stash your toolbox with wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers…even if you think you won’t use them, you never know when an emergency will strike, so it’s better to be prepared. Prevention is always better than cure. Also place some blankets and pillows, extra clothes, dry snacks, a first aid kit and medicine, a flashlight, a flare, and some matches. It’s not bad to be a scout about this; since the weather can get pretty harsh in Oakland, you should be prepared (even if you’re not expecting it) to spend some nights on rest stops and motels if you plan on going on long road trips for the holidays.

Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times.

This prevents moisture from forming in the gas lines, and in the long run, prevents your tank from freezing inside.