10 Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

In New England, the winter season typically means frigid temperatures, blustery winds, and snowy roadways. While winter weather can create hazardous driving conditions, it can also wreak havoc on your vehicle. To help you avoid long-term damage and costly repairs, we’ve put together 10 tips for getting your car winter-ready.

  1. Measure tire tread and inflation levels. Tires low in air or short on tread can prevent you from getting the traction you need to drive safely on ice and through even the smallest amount of snow. CarCare.org gives some great tips on how to maintain your tires’ fluctuating PSI levels in the winter.
  2. Replace your windshield wipers. Cold weather, ice build-up, and salt/sand can cause your wipers to break down much faster in the winter than in other seasons. Check their condition more frequently in the winter to make sure they are free of rips and gouges.
  3. Regularly fill windshield wiper fluid. Check your levels frequently and consider using a winter-rated fluid that is less likely to freeze.
  4. Keep your fuel level up. Your tank should be at least half full in the winter to prevent fuel line freeze-ups and to make sure you can keep yourself warm longer should you become stuck on the side of the road.
  5. Maintain all other engine fluid levels. Antifreeze, oil, radiator, power steering, and transmission fluids should all be maintained per the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
  6. Check your battery. Batteries work extra hard in the winter, battling against cold engines, heat and defrost demands, and sluggish fluids. Have your engine’s battery tested often during the winter to make sure it will get you through the season.
  7. Remove all snow and ice. Not only should you remove any ice and snow on your windows to help you see clearly, but you should also remove it from the rest of your vehicle for your safety and those around you.
  8. Review your insurance coverage. Winter is an especially good time to check in with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage and explore add-ons like roadside assistance coverage and gap insurance.
  9. Have your brakes inspected. While there are different rules for using your brakes on ice and snow, you should still make sure they are in top shape for when you do need them.
  10. Prepare a winter emergency kit for your car. Having a few essentials in your car can come in handy in the event of a roadside emergency. To help keep you and your passengers safe this winter, assemble a kit with the following items:
  • Flares
  • First-aid kit
  • Blanket
  • Cell phone charger
  • Small shovel
  • Traction assist material, like kitty litter or sand
  • Bottle of water
  • Snacks (energy bar, trail mix, etc.)
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Extra pair of gloves
  • Lock defroster
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Jumper cables
  • Insurance information card

For more great tips on how to navigate the icy and snowy roads during the winter months, check out this AAA guide. As always, feel free to contact us should you have any questions on your insurance.