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How to Winterize Your Car

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your car. And it’s particularly dangerous to break down in the winter. Thus, it’s important to winterize your car before extreme weather hits to minimize your risk of being caught in the cold.

Prepping for Winter Conditions

To winterize your car, make sure it’s in good running condition and stock it with winter weather supplies. Also, make sure the following components are ready to handle the cold weather ahead.

Car Battery

In freezing temperatures, many batteries have a lower power output. This can make it hard to start your car in the morning. Check your battery output to see if you need to replace it. Consider getting a cold-weather battery that will offer a higher power output at below freezing temps. Always keep jumper cables on hand or invest in a jump starter kit so you can jump your battery without the need for another vehicle, which could be a lifesaver if you are stranded on an isolated road.


Get a winter windshield wiper fluid that will be less likely to freeze. Flush and refill your antifreeze or coolant, and keep an extra bottle in the car.


Change it if needed, and consider using lower-viscosity or “W” grade oil, which resists thickening in cold weather.


The tires that got you through the warm, dry summer might not hold up when temperatures drop and ice forms on the road. Consider getting winter tires, which won’t harden as much in the cold and have striations that help increase traction on ice and snow. And always keep a set of chains in your car in case you’re caught in a snowstorm.


A winter emergency kit for your car should include:

  • A shovel and a bag of sand for getting out of snow or ice
  • Flashlights
  • Booster cables
  • Flares
  • Matches
  • A first aid kit
  • Emergency blankets and cold weather gear
  • Nutrient-dense food
  • Water
  • Windshield scraper, and
  • A gallon of gas (which can keep your car heater running if you get stranded)

Winter brings all the typical risks of driving complicated by low visibility, extreme weather, and the elements. Take the time to winterize your car, stock up on cold weather supplies, and keep abreast of weather changes so you can choose the safest time to drive.

If you do get in an accident this winter, consider working with an experienced Arlington Heights auto accident attorney. An attorney can help you prove liability so you don’t have to fight to get the compensation you deserve.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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