ATC Blog

Five Ways to Winterize your Car

With the winter season quickly approaching, it’s important to make sure that your car is prepared for the cold weather and anything that the elements might throw in your way on the road. Here are five ways you can winterize your car and ready yourself for the cold months.

1. Check your defrosting and heating units

Your defroster eliminates moisture that condenses on your windshield and makes it difficult to see. Window fogging is common in the winter and a properly-working defroster pushes warm, dry air over your windshield to clear the fog and allow to see the road. Visibility in the winter is extremely important, so you want to check to see if your defroster is working, and working well. If your defroster isn’t clearing all the fog, you car should be checked for air leaks around the doors and windows that could be bringing in more moisture.

Nobody likes shivering while driving, which is why we rely on our car’s heating system to make us comfortable in the winter months. Winter driving requires full attention, and the comfort from your heating system helps you focus. If your heating system is taking a while to heat up, or isn’t getting warm at all, talk to your mechanic about getting a new heater coil so you’re ready for the cold.

2. Change to a thinner oil

Winter weather limits the effectiveness of your oil. The cold weather thickens your oil, making it difficult for it to circulate throughout your engine. Without that lubrication, your car won’t be able to drive at its highest potential, or may not even start. A thinner oil will circulate throughout your engine better, and your owner’s manual should tell you the optimal oil viscosity during winter months.

3. Keep your gas tank full

A gas tank that is close to empty runs the risk of freezing over in cold temperatures. During the winter, because of cold, shifting temperatures, it’s easy for condensation to form on the inside of your gas tank if it isn’t full. Since water is heavier than gasoline, that condensation will drip down to the bottom of your tank and could freeze your flow lines and block any gas trying to get to your engine. Keeping your tank full in the winter will ensure that condensation won’t freeze your fuel lines.

4. Regularly wash and clean your car

You always want to have a shiny, clean car for appearance purposes, but in the winter months you car is more susceptible to corrosion for salt, and cleaning your car prevents that. When salt is put down on roads, it prevents ice from forming, but that same salt can get stuck on your car’s underbody and will damage your car’s finish, cause rust and affect the mechanics of your car. In order to prevent salt build up, wash your car every 10 days in the winter and throw on a fresh coat of wax.

5. Switch to winter windshield wipers and fluid

Winter wiper blades are much more equipped for snow and ice. Your regular wiper blades will struggle to ensure visibility. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a snow storm where you can’t see in front of you because your blades aren’t ready.

Your standard windshield wiper fluid has a high risk of freezing if temperatures get low. It’s important to switch to winter wiper fluid that is designed not to freeze so you can count on a clear windshield, no matter what the temperature is.

There are many ways to winterize your car, and they are all worth considering if you want to keep your car running at its highest capacity during colder months.

For more information contact Automotive Training Center.


For program disclosure information, please go to www.autotraining.edu/consumer-information.

One thought on “Five Ways to Winterize your Car

  1. Deanna R. Jones

    I’m starting to realize why my car sometimes have trouble starting during the winter, even though there isn’t anything wrong with the engine or the battery. I’ve been using the same oil in my car for years, so learning that I should use a thinner oil in the winter is a huge revelation for me. If the cold will thicken my oil and make it more difficult for it to circulate in my engine, then I’ll be much better off changing my oil to something that’s a lot thinner. Now I’ll have less trouble starting my car this winter as long as I take care of my car. Thanks for the tips!

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