Winterizing your vehicle: How to prepare your car during record-cold weather

Posted at 3:54 PM, Nov 12, 2019

The arctic blast hitting a large part of the country should mobilize motorists to winterize their vehicles, warns the Car Care Council.

“Freezing cold temperatures can stress out a vehicle, as well as its driver,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The recent record low temperatures are a harsh reminder to be car care aware. Motorists should invest a little time now to check their vehicles so they have one less worry when arctic temperatures strike again.”

The Car Care Council says extremely cold temperatures tend to reduce a vehicle's battery power, so it's important to keep the connections clean and corrosion-free. If the vehicle's battery is more than three years old, it might be time to replace it.

Additionally, the council says to be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly. Additionally, drivers should have their brakes inspected.

Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling, so if you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before the temperatures drop again, the council says.

For good visibility, check to see that heaters, defrosters, lights and wipers work properly.

Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Lastly, stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.