Prepare your car for winter with our car maintenance tips. Cold engine, temperamental battery, snow tyres: avoid start-up problems and equip your vehicle for a safer drive!

By Published On: 2 June 2021Categories: My car1238 words6.3 min read
Prepare your car for winter: car maintenance tips and snow tyres
© Arek Socha / Pixabay

Winter is a specific season for car maintenance. To avoid breaking down in the future, it is essential to prepare your car for winter for it to run correctly. Pamper your engine, decide to buy winter tyres. This is sound advice to avoid unexpected expenses and, if you drive on snow, peace of mind to tackle the cold.

Prepare your car for winter to avoid a mechanical breakdown

Winter is the season when your car needs to supply more energy due to the cold. Frost, ice, snow, all these conditions are extremely hard on the engine, the battery and all of your vehicle’s mechanics. Therefore, their condition must be checked just like the tread wear indicator on your winter tyres.

Car maintenance in winter: check your snow tyres and drive safely
© Karolina Grabowska / Pixabay

rezulteo recommends you prepare your car for winter: service all the equipment and check your car’s safety points before setting off on wintry roads. Rely on regular maintenance to keep your car in good running order for a confident drive.

12 tips to make car maintenance easier in winter

1. Keep your car inside

Your vehicle should be parked, preferably in a garage or in a sheltered parking spot. This is a good start to prepare your car for winter. You won’t have to scrape ice off it in the morning! But above all, it will protect your car from any cold weather damage.

To reduce car maintenance, if you don’t have a garage, you can cover your car with a tarpaulin and the windscreen with a large piece of cardboard. This is a good tip to avoid numb fingers due to the cold when scraping ice off your car in the morning.

These precautions can be taken even further to prepare your car for winter: put a blanket over the engine, remove the battery and store it inside for the night and leave your car parked in gear to prevent the brake pads from sticking.

2. Equip yourself with gloves and a scraper

The windscreen can freeze in the morning or at night. This is why you should keep a scraper mitt or a scraper and gloves in the passenger compartment of your car, just so that you don’t end up with frozen hands. Don’t forget to turn on the heating which will help defrost your car’s windows.

Expert’s advice for car maintenance: never defrost a windscreen with boiling or hot water! This can cause a thermal shock which may crack the glass or make an existing crack or chip worse.

3. Keep jumper cables in the boot

If your battery is a few years old, it may be temperamental in cold weather. Jumper cables can then be used to get the engine running again, provided they are kept in the boot of your car. Indeed, to prepare your car for winter, you must anticipate any difficulties due to the cold.

4. See and be seen

In winter, it gets dark early. And, weather conditions are not kind to drivers during this period: rain, fog, snow, ice, etc. You must prepare your car for winter, and make sure that all of its lights are in good condition. Check that the bulbs in your headlights, night lights and indicator lights are working.

But, for a safe drive, winter car maintenance does not stop there: rezulteo recommends you clean your windscreen wipers once a year with hot water mixed with some white vinegar.

5. Adapt the windscreen washer fluid

The windscreen can quickly become dirty in winter: water and dust streaks, salt or mud. You must make sure that the reservoir is full so that you don’t run out when you are driving. Choose a winter antifreeze windscreen washer fluid which withstands negative temperatures down to -30°C.

6. Check the fluid levels

Coolant or engine oil, check the fluid levels to keep your engine running correctly. The coolant helps keep the engine at a certain temperature and also prevents engine water from freezing thanks to an antifreeze additive. AutoZone recommends using dual grade oils in winter. 

7. Fit winter tyres

Winter, especially in regions where temperatures fall below 0°C, requires your car to be well-equipped. For more safety and comfort, winter tyres are built to deliver better braking and grip on cold, slippery surfaces. Are you thinking about heading to the mountains? Then, find out about winter tyre regulations.

Other equipment exists to drive on mountain or snow-covered roads. You can choose between snow chains or socks which grip the surface, especially if you drive on roads where it is mandatory to fit winter equipment (B26 road sign).

8. Check your winter tyres for wear

Snow tyres or winter tyres most guarantee the highest level of safety in all types of weather during the cold season. For this, check that the tread of your tyres has not worn down to the maximum tread wear indicators to drive legally on roads.

9. Monitor the heating and air-conditioning systems

Driving a freezing cold car is a very unpleasant experience that is best to avoid. Especially if the weather is very cold and there is snow! It is up to you to check that the heating works correctly when the temperatures fall.

It is a bonus for your safety: it helps demist the windscreen, melt the frost and ice to provide better visibility.

You can also run the air-conditioning once a fortnight for 15 minutes. Why? To lubricate the pipes, hoses and seals in the air conditioning circuit; this will be useful for next summer. This habit can also ensure that the cold does not wear out the heating system and the engine.

10. Prepare long trips

Whether for a skiing weekend or a holiday in the mountains, you must prepare your car for winter. It must be ready to face any eventuality and the cold. This is why you must consult the weather forecast and driving conditions before setting off.

11. Adapt your driving

In winter, you must think about car maintenance, fit your car with winter tyres and also adapt your driving style to the weather and road conditions. In this season, the weather can be unpredictable. It’s up to you to adopt a smooth and calm driving style to suit the weather conditions.

In snow or freezing rain, first of all, you must start by doubling the safety distances. It is always better to drive without being afraid! Use the engine brake as much as possible, i.e. reducing the speed and downshifting, gradually with no sudden braking. Several tyre brands such as Michelin provide driving safety tips for winter.

12. Equip yourself for the cold

Last, but not least, to prepare your car for winter: in the boot, make sure that you have all the necessary equipment for blocking situations: traffic jams on the motorway, if you are stopped due to bad weather, a breakdown, etc.

To deal with this, make sure that you keep the following in the various compartments of your vehicle:

  • blankets
  • snacks and drinks
  • safety kit (yellow jacket/vest, triangle)
  • a charged telephone and its charger
  • torch

Car maintenance also includes your comfort and safety.

Prepare your car for winter
© rezulteo

Snow tyres, essential equipment for winter

It is still time to fit winter tyres on your car. For motorists driving in regions affected by cold weather, it is better to equip your car with winter tyres: better performances, improved ride comfort, more safety! rezulteo will help you find the right tyres to drive in winter.

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