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How to Care For Your Car in the Winter without Getting Frostbite

Updated on February 23, 2013

Captured Last Week from School Parking Lot

My Winterized Car :-|
My Winterized Car :-|

Why This Article?

Winters and cars do not always get along so well in the winter; in fact, you could say they don’t really get along at all. Salt and sand can wreak havoc on a vehicle and if you’re not prepared ahead of time, winter can get the best of you and your car. The best defense is a good offense – make sure your car is ready for the harsh conditions of the long, cold winter.

Tires

Snow tires are obviously the best choice here, but they can be rather expensive. Then again, so can repairing your car after it has skidded into the ditch. Chains can work equally well, as long as they have been installed properly. Without a set of quality tires, you might as well just leave your car in the driveway for the winter.

Check your tire pressure regularly to make sure that they are properly inflated. Snow and icy conditions can reduce traction to a minimum; tires that are not inflated to the maximum is an accident waiting to happen.

Gas Tank

Try to keep your gas tank at least half full during the cold winter months. Cold air can get into the tank and evaporate what little gas you do have. Fuel prices are high enough – don’t give the oil companies any more money than absolutely necessary.

Block Heater

For extremely cold temperatures – anything colder than 0 Degree Fahrenheit – think about purchasing a block heater and plugging your car in overnight. This will help save the life of your battery and ensures a smooth startup in the morning. This winter care for car really helps increase the lifespan of your car.

Let Your Car Warm Up

Unlike summer, when you can just start and go, you’re going to have to give your car a bit of time to get used to the cold temperatures. Give it at least five or ten minutes; you’ll probably be scraping the windshield anyway.

Extra tip: Never start your car and then go back inside to warm up. Winter is the prime vehicle-stealing season. Criminals are on the lookout for cars that are already started and are unattended. Yes, you will be cold, but isn’t it better than having to call the police reporting that your car has been stolen?

Windshield Wipers

Winterized wipers are thicker and can withstand more punishment. Sleet, snow and ice are not only nuisances, they are heavy. Winter wipers are sturdier and can move the snow and ice easier. Make sure you have good wipers otherwise your car may not get the perfect winter care that it deserves!

Extra tip: Rub some vinegar on the wiper blades; the acid from the vinegar will keep them from freezing and make clearing your windshield much easier.

Fluids

Always make sure your fluids are topped up, and that your windshield wiper fluid can withstand the cold temperatures (water will not work!). Avoid water as much as possible if you care for your car in the winter, use alternatives!

Rear Wheel Drive Vehicles

Only those who own a rear wheel drive vehicle in the winter can understand the term ‘fish-tail.’ A good way to avoid this occurrence is to keep a bag of sand, salt or kitty litter in the trunk. The extra weight will provide extra traction in snowy, icy conditions.

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