Preparing your car for winter

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4 min read

As they say in Game of Thrones: Winter is coming! And while you and your car won’t have to face charging knights, monsters and sword battles (we hope!) surviving those cold months can still be pretty brutal.

If you want to keep your car running smooth during winter, and drive safely too, you should think about some seasonal upgrades.

Let’s take a look at some top tips for winter prep.

mount winter tires

If you live somewhere that gets super icy during winter, this is the one of the most important upgrades you can do to improve your safety on the road. Winter tires are softer, with deeper tread, and are designed to optimize grip in cold conditions by maximizing the contact between the rubber and the road.

inspect all belts, hoses, and plugs

A drop in temperature can have an outsized impact on certain components in your engine. In freezing conditions, the rubber on the belts and hoses can degrade—check these regularly for cracks and bulges and replace them if you notice any deterioration.

Spark plug performance can also become an issue in low temperatures (this is related to the battery) so check these for defects too.

check your battery

Cold weather increases resistance in electric circuits and makes your battery less efficient as a result. If you’re having trouble starting your vehicle then it could be because the battery isn’t pushing enough energy to your spark plugs. This is the reason why you need to check your spark plugs as the better condition they are in the less energy they require to fire up.

inspect your car fluids

There are a few fluids to check. The first is antifreeze, which helps keep fluid running through your engine smoothly (all year round), but has a double function during really cold weather because it stops your radiator from freezing. You should be replacing this every 30,000 miles or so and when winter approaches it’s a good time to take a look.

Engine oil can also get thicker in cold temperatures, which can make it harder to start your engine. Again, check your oil is looking fresh and if not get it changed.

Another important fluid to check is the brake fluid. This isn’t affected by the cold weather in the same way as engine oil, but it does degrade over time. If there’s ever a time to make sure your brake system is working perfectly, it’s just before winter.

use windshield covers

A bit of snow can be fun, sure, but when you have to scrape it off your windshield before your commute it quickly loses its charm. Windshield covers are a great, cheap, car hack to save time (and misery) in the morning.

keep an emergency kit

During winter conditions can change fast and there’s a higher chance of breakdown, or getting stuck in the snow or ice. If this happens— and you’re preparing for a long drive in freezing conditions—make sure you have an emergency kit to tide you over until the pickup or rescue vehicle arrives. Even if you’re driving around urban areas, at the very least you should pack a windscreen scraper to keep frost and ice clear of your windshield.

In your emergency kit we recommend gear for your personal comfort, like a first aid kit, extra warm clothing, water, energy bars and snacks. Then for your car, pack things like extra antifreeze, jump start cables and tools. If you’re planning a particularly wild route, some flares could also come in handy (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!).

The onset of winter can be fun and festive (unless you’re living in Westeros, that is), but if you want to drive safely it means making some checks to ensure your car can handle the heat (or lack of it).

If your inspections leave you with too big of a list of repairs or inconveniences, Peddle is happy to buy your old car. Just tell us the details, we’ll make you an offer and someone will come to pick it up and hand you a check. You can spend the extra bucks on a more durable vehicle (or get started on your Christmas shopping spree).