1. Test the battery.
2. Check the tire pressure.
As temperatures drop, so will tire pressures—typically by about 1 pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10 degrees. This is why it’s important to check the inflation pressure on your tires regularly during cold weather.
3. Examine antifreeze levels.
Check the coolant in the overflow tank when the engine is cold and turned off. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.
4. Apply water repellent to your windshield.
Scraping ice-covered windows can be easier than you think. Apply a water repellent such as Rain-X to all car windows when they’re clean and dry. Then, when you scrape off the ice this winter, it will be much easier.
TIP: Never pour hot water on icy windows—the rapid temperature change could cause them to crack.
5. Clean your headlights.
Cloudy headlights reduce your ability to see and be seen at night, especially in snow and fog. Improve visibility with a headlight restoration kit, which removes the haze from headlight covers. These kits are available at most auto part stores.
6. Let a professional look at your brakes.
Car brakes don’t always give a warning when they’re worn low or experiencing other problems, and you don’t want to discover there’s an issue with them when you’re on an icy road. Have them checked before winter arrives.
7. Prepare an emergency kit.
Always keep an emergency kit stocked for winter weather. Curate your kit to best reflect the climate of your area, or area that you’ll be traveling to. The kit should include:
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Ice scraper with brush (if applicable)
- Jumper cables
- Gloves, hats and blankets—enough for everyone who may ride in your car
- First-aid kit
- Snow shovel (if applicable)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable snacks (energy bars or granola bars)
- Extra clothes
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
- Mobile phone preprogrammed with important numbers