10+1 tips to prepare your car for the winter

To help you to prepare your car for the winter oilspecifications.org compiled a checklist about the most important things to do to make sure that your car is appropriately prepared for the winter. This checklist is for temperate climates where the typical winter temperature is betweeen 0 and 50 degrees Farenheit or -20 and 10 degrees Celsius.

The most important two...

1. Winter tires or 4-Season tires. Winter tires perform much better on the snow and ice and even if none of those are present they still perform better if the average daily temperature is below 7 degrees C or 45 degrees F. If you are mostly using your car in a city where the roads are kept clean of snow and you can afford not using your car outside the city in heavy snow then a 4-Season tire can pretty much suffice. Note that a high quality 4-season tire can perform as well as a cheap winter tire. Also make sure that the winter tire's tread depth is no less than 0.16 inches (4 mm) and the tire is not older than 5 years.

2. It's always good practice to use an antifreeze concentrate + water mixture or a ready-to-use prediluted coolant with antifreeze properties instead of pure water as coolant because it has additives that keeps your cooling system clean and free of rust. But during the winter it's even more important to do so in order to prevent any cooling system failures that the ice could cause. Keep in mind however, that even though older cars may operate well with almost any antifreeze newer cars may require more modern formulations based on Organic Acid Technology (OAT) or Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT). Consult your car's user's manual if you are not sure about the right coolant. Note that not all coolants can be mixed with each other and some are even sensitive to traces of the previously used coolant. To be on the safe side use the same product as before if it's available. Further related advice: never use an undiluted antifreeze concentrate because it has a worse resistance to freezing than even an 1:1 diluted mixture.

The remaining eight...

3. Always keep car cleaning equipment (like ice scraper) and warm clothes in your car.

4. Get snow chains and practice their deployment at home to know what to do when you need to use them in a real situation. They are not easy to put on so don't skip the practicing part.

5. If you keep your car outdoors - unless you have heated wipers - it's a good practice to lift your windshield wipers off the glass when leaving the car. Otherwise the blades may freeze to the windshield and they may get damaged when they are moved.

6. Spray the rubber seals of your car doors with a silicone spray to prevent them from freezing.

7. Keep a de-icer spray handy to have it around in case your car door lock freezes.

8. If salt (i.e. sodium chloride) is used for road defrosting in your country then have your car washed more frequently during winter time because the salt damages your car's paint.

9. Have your car checked out by a mechanic to find any hidden problems that can get worse in cold weather conditions.

10. Check you vehicle lights. The visibility conditions are usually poorer in winter so to see and be seen is super important.

+1 extra...

Make sure that you use the right oil in your car. Most current multigrade oils are good for both summer and winter conditions but it's worth double checking it just to be on the safe side.

Our app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Download our printable cheat sheet with API, ACEA, ILSAC and JASO specifications, for only 0.95 USD.

Download our printable cheat sheet with BMW, Fiat, Ford, etc. specifications, for only 0.95 USD.