Any day your car breaks down is a bad day. If it happens when the weather is cold and snowy, the situation can get downright dangerous. But with good winter car care, you won’t get stuck on the side of the road due to improper car maintenance.

Winter car maintenance tips

Learning how to take care of your car in winter requires preparation. Follow these winter car tips, including what stuff to keep in your car for winter, and you can enjoy peace of mind no matter what the weather throws at you.

1. Test your car’s battery

The first thing to check for winter car maintenance is your car battery. It’s important to test your car battery and ensure it’s in tip-top shape, especially if you’re seeing signs that it is dying. When the temperature drops, your battery loses some of its strength. In cold weather, it also takes more power to start your car. That means if your battery is already on its last legs going into winter, it won’t start. Learn about how to extend your car’s battery life.

2. Check your tires

Cold weather also affects your tire pressure. Your car’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensor may light up during the first cold stretch of the year. Ignore this warning at your own risk: If you lose tire pressure, your underinflated tires will wear down quicker, negatively impacting their traction on icy roads. If you want to increase your traction, consider adding snow tires to your winter car care routine and swap them out every season. Or purchase high-quality all-weather tires to help keep your car steady on the road all year. Even when you know how to drive in the snow, winter weather can be challenging to navigate if your tires can’t get traction.

3. Check your car’s fluids

To practice good winter car maintenance, check your oil and get it changed if it is dirty. Have your technician check all other car fluid levels and top them off if needed. And throughout the winter season, keep your gas tank at least half-full to avoid moisture in the gas lines, which can freeze in cold temperatures.

Another tip for winter car maintenance is to not forget about your windshield wipers. Winter is when visibility is at its worst, so you’ll want to fill up this vital solution and be ready for the snow and muck. If you live in an area where the temperatures regularly dip below freezing, look for windshield wiper fluid that includes antifreeze. Also, check if you need to replace your windshield wipers. Worn-out wipers can also cause visibility issues during the winter.

4. Consider the winter precautions for driving your car

Some essential winter car tips have nothing to do with the operation of your car. Because Mother Nature can throw so many variables at you during cold weather, ensure you have all the safety gear you might need. A well-stocked car should include the following:

  • Cell phone & cellphone charger
  • Jumper cables & flares
  • Ice scraper & shovel
  • Blanket and coat
  • Antifreeze & a bag of sand for ice traction

Protect yourself from getting stranded on the road this winter with roadside assistance coverage, which can provide emergency towing, winching, jump-starts, tire changes, and more.