Winter Checklist: Prepare Your Car for the Cold

car checklist

At Winner, we offer Philadelphia Airport long-term parking and short-term parking, but we also offer high-quality vehicle services. If your car, truck, or SUV needs to be inspected, needs a bit of body work, or needs a thorough detailing while you’re away, our local Maaco experts are happy to help.

In the meantime, follow these tips to get your car ready for the cold temperatures of winter:

Have the right tires

Ideally, vehicles in the Northeast should use snow tires for the best traction in snowy or icy conditions. If you don’t have snow tires (or can’t afford them), all-season tires should be enough to get you through the season. Just make sure you don’t go driving around with summer tires on your car.

Check your belts

Check your belts for signs of cracking or fraying. If you find any damage, replace your belts. The cold will make the damage worse and could mean big trouble for your car if they snap or break.

Have an emergency road kit

You never know when you may break down or get stuck and if the temperatures are cold enough, it could mean trouble. Keep an emergency road kit in your car just in case, with things like:

  • Drinking water
  • A blanket and warm clothes
  • A snow shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • A flashlight
  • First-Aid kit
  • Basic tools (like a screwdriver, wrench, etc.)
  • A bag of sand or kitty litter for traction

Install quality wipers

Make sure you have a good set of windshield wipers (usually around $20-$30); good wipers can make all the difference when it comes to safe driving in inclement weather. Also, make sure they’re the right size. Too-small of a size can limit your visibility. After that, fill your wiper fluid reservoir with fluid made for winter (a kind that won’t freeze).

Check your battery

Before the cold weather sets in, have a trained mechanic check your vehicle’s battery. In the winter, a fully-charged battery is required to start your engine and it’s better to replace a draining battery than wait until it dies.

Wash and wax

Give your vehicle a thorough washing and waxing before the cold months. For a better application and result, wax your car with solid wax instead of using a spray or having it waxed at the local car wash. You’ll not only protect it against the weather, but also against the sand and/or salt that’s put on the roads to help driving conditions.

Keep the gas tank full

During the winter, try to keep your gas tank at least halfway full. This will prepare you for slow-moving traffic (you won’t run out of gas) and will allow you to keep your heat running if you get stuck somewhere.