Winterizing Your Car

Winter is just around the corner. Do you know how to prepare your car and yourself for driving in the unexpected weather that winter may bring?
Here are some suggestions from the National Safety Council to make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared.


At any temperature -20° Fahrenheit below zero or 90° Fahrenheit above -weather affects road and driving conditions and can pose serious problems. It is important to monitor forecasts on the Web, radio, TV, cable weather channel or in the daily papers.

Your Car

Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:

Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts.
Changing and adjusting the spark plugs.
Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
Inspecting the distributor.
Checking the battery.
Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth.
Checking antifreeze levels and the freeze line.
Your car should have a tune-up (check the owner's manual for the recommended interval) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power.

Necessary Equipment

An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. In addition to making sure you have the tune-up, a full tank of gas and fresh anti-freeze, you should carry the following items in your trunk:

Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack
Jumper cables
Tow and tire chains
Bag of salt or cat litter
Tool kit

Emergency Supplies

If you are planning on traveling long distances in winter weather, or if the weather is particularly bad, be prepared. Emergency supplies include:

Working flashlight and extra batteries
Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
First aid kit
Exterior windshield cleaner
Ice scraper and snow brush
Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.
Blanket and warm clothes