Preparing your car for winter


Ashley Sizemore

Temperatures are dropping, people are turning on the heat at their homes, and everyone is starting to dress warmer for the winter. Everyone has a routine that they transition into winter with. Often people forget to “winterize” something that use almost on a daily basis.

People’s primary mode for transportation needs some care as the winter approaches. Cars and trucks have a series of routine maintenance to get ready for the winter just as humans do.

“As soon as the weather changes at all I check tire pressure,” Erica Wright, computer science sophomore said. ”I only change oil when the 3000 miles is up.”

Jim Dexter, an auto parts salesperson at Advance Auto Parts said the under or over inflated tires are dangerous in winter mixes.

“Under or over inflated tires do not have the proper contact to the pavement which could cause improper traction or loss of traction,” Dexter said.

There are several things besides focusing on the tires that a person should do to prepare their car or truck for the cold weather, according to  A driver should get a tune-up to check and make sure all their fluids are filled and everything is working properly.

Dexter said that it is important to change your oil before the cold weather gets here.

“If you are a do-it-yourselfer you are not likely to change it with snow on the ground and most garages are not heated,” Dexter said. ”People are less likely to do it during the winter anyway.”

Geico recommends keeping the gas tank more than half-way full at all times because it helps prevent the car’s fuel lines from freezing.

In addition to making sure the fuel line doesn’t freeze, Dexter said to also check the power steering fluid, anti-freeze and window washing fluids.

“You want a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water.” Dexter said. “It’s so the engine block does not freeze up or crack due to cold temps.”

Dexter said to check to power steering fluid because if the power steering pump doesn’t have adequate fluid level, it can lock up and cause problems with steering components which can keep drivers from maneuvering vehicle properly.

Fluids are a vital part of preparing a car for winter, but there are still more precautions to take before winter is here.

According to, a person should check their brakes if there’s even the slightest concern that there is something wrong with them.

“Brake pads are detrimental for stopping the vehicle.” Dexter said. “You may have to drive extra slow or extra careful if snow or ice on ground and apply the brakes more often.”

While most of this is routine maintenance, there are things that people should consider adding to their car in case of an emergency or when snow and ice finally appears.

“I don’t keep a blanket for me in the car,” Wright said.” I keep an extra jacket and blanket in the car for my daughter.”

Dexter said it is suggested to place at blanket and inexpensive emergency kit in the back seat in case the car breaks down.

“If people want to spend a little more I would have jumper cables, a portable air pump, tire pressure gauge, flash light and towels to check fluids,” Dexter said.  “They’re not necessary to have, but they are good for emergencies.”

Dexter said it is always a good thing to be prepared for winter. He said a person never knows when they are going to go somewhere and breakdown and never knows when the weather is going to give us snow the weatherman predicts.