Preparing Your Car for Winter

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Preparing Your Car for Winter: Winter Prep Tips You Need to Know

Northeast_Snow-081e8When Mother Nature starts blowing snow, sleet and ice on your city’s streets, it’s time to prep your car for winter. But how do you know what to do to keep your vehicle running smoothly and your passengers safe and sound? Look no further than these simple winter prep tips for whatever kind of car or truck you drive.

The basics. When the weather starts to bring a chill to your bones, there’s a good chance that your car is feeling the dropping temperatures too. So, before the temperature starts to reach record lows here are just a few things to check to ensure your car will make it through winter intact.

  • Check your fluid levels. Whether it’s your windshield washer, coolant, brake or transmission fluid, all fluid levels should be checked, changed or topped off suggests the Popular Science website. Some of these fluids – like windshield wiper fluid can be replaced with a winterized version that contains de-icer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggest keeping your gas tank full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Check your lights. Between your headlights, brake lights, tail lights, turn signals and hazards, make sure that all your car lights work properly. If you find that one is out, bulbs are usually an inexpensive thing to replace yourself.
    • Check your wipers. Before freezing rain and snow threaten to impair your view, make sure your front and rear windshield wipers work properly. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months or so to ensure you are not left in inclement weather conditions with an impaired view.

The extras. After you take care of the basics to prep your car for winter, there are more ways to help your car make it through the winter safe and sound. Here are just a few extra things you can do to maintain the safety and stability you want in the winter.

  • Distribute the weight evenly. Whether you can make sure your passengers and cargo are evenly spread throughout your car or you can artificially maintain an even distribution of weight using weights or sandbags, this helps your car not fishtail or swerve due to a heavier front than rear or vice versa. Pickup trucks and other types of large work vans or vehicles often require sandbags or other heavy items to be placed in the trunk to help the vehicle maintain even weight. Even if you have a small car, sandbags can help in this case too.
  • Switch to snow tires. Snow tires may be a bit of a financial investment, but they can go a long way in keeping you safe while driving through winter weather conditions. With a thicker tread, your car will be able to brake, handle and gain better traction while driving on sleek and icy roads. You may also consider using studded winter tires or tire chains where appropriate.
  • Stock up on supplies. While you should have a first aid kit and other safety supplies in your car year-round, it is even more important to have certain items on hand when the temperatures begin to drop. Consider everything from blankets and extra windshield washer fluid, to a shovel, ice scraper and even a set of tire chains in case you do find yourself stuck in the snow. offers a list of even more necessary winter equipment to stock up on before you head out into the snow this year including jumper cables and even a bag of sand or kitty litter to help you if you are stuck in a snow bank.

These are just a few ways you can prepare your car for the upcoming winter season. From the basics to the extras, you can get ready to travel through the snow in just a few simple steps. Another way you can keep your car covered is to make sure you have the right car insurance for every season and situation. You can even add roadside assistance to most policies to keep you protected when you’re on the road and away from home. Find other driving safety tips online to help you stay safe and sound wherever winter takes you this year.



Sponsored content was created and provided by Nationwide Insurance.

By: Micah Moon

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  1. Although it doesn’t snow here in Las Vegas, I always try to keep up on the regular maintenance of my car, including preparing it for the desert summer!

  2. Winter could be the hardest season ever! It’s freezing and checking out your car’s condition is a must to avoid an accident. I’ve always make sure that its engine works fine so as the brakes. Thanks for the additional useful tips! I’ll keep them in mind.

  3. Thank you for sharing this helpful information. It’s already December but I haven’t taken any winter precautions for my car yet. I should get my tires and fluids changed as soon as possible.


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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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