October 3, 2023 admin

How to Prepare Your Car for the Winter

Winterize Your Vehicle

Winter is quickly approaching (burr) and begins on December 21st.

Winter driving conditions can be hazardous, so it’s best to be prepared for driving on winter roads.

So how can you prepare your vehicle for winter?

Below are recommended tips to keep your vehicle running and you safe this winter.



Wash your vehicle often to protect your car’s paint from the corrosive effect of salt, sand, and debris. Ensure the car’s undercarriage receives a thorough wash, as that area gets the most corrosion damage. By washing off the salt, sand, and debris regularly, you prevent the possibility of rust. Make sure you wash your vehicle after every winter storm.


When the weather is cold, I know that car care is at the bottom of your to-do list in the winter. But we urge you not to let a little chilly weather put your car’s paint at risk.

If you have a garage or covered area on a warmer day, we advise you to throw on a coat of wax. Wax creates a barrier between the car paint and the snow, ice, salt, sand, gravel, and grime that is everywhere during the winter.

By applying wax, you are effectively putting a protective layer over the paint. Using wax is always a good maintenance tip both in the winter and during the summer to protect your car’s paint from the harsh elements, but it’s imperative at the end of fall, December 21st.

You can also use a convenient spray wax product for touch-ups or as a time saver.


Avoid parking on the street if possible. Parking on the street is one of the worst things you can do for your car. But if parking your vehicle in a garage is not an option during winter conditions, we do not recommend parking your vehicle under a tree. Parking near trees can expose your vehicle to falling branches and other dangers. If you park your car in an undeveloped area, making sure it is at least 10 feet from structures, overhanging branches, or power lines is the best strategy.


If you have no option but to leave your car parked outside, you can always protect it from the elements with a car cover. Car covers are designed for wintry weather protection and to keep excess moisture and ice off the car’s paint. Car covers can also be used in bright, sunny summers when sun damage can fade your paint. Car covers reduce the wear caused by scraping off ice and brushing snow off the vehicle. Car covers not only save your car’s paint but can also save time getting your car ready to go to work in the morning.


Just like other fluids in your vehicle, keeping a full tank of gas is essential. The main reason is the weather. When you’re driving home from work, traffic slows to a crawl because of an accident because someone doesn’t know how to drive in rain, snow, or fog. Now your regular 20-minute commute will take hours. It’s also important to keep adequate gas in your car when storing it outside in winter. Low gas volumes can freeze in the tank or gas lines, making your vehicle inoperable and potentially causing damage. So, keep a full gas tank during winter if your pocketbook allows it.


While it’s advisable to store your car in a garage or carport during wintry weather, that isn’t always possible. However, parking outside in chilly weather doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for your car.

If you follow these guidelines, you can park your car outside:

  • Stand your wiper blades up after parking to prevent wipers from freezing on your windshield.
  • Place a portable windshield cover or towel on your windshield after parking to prevent ice buildup.
  • Carry portable jumper cables in your car. They can be a lifesaver if your car won’t start in wintry conditions, and you might also be able to help another car owner.


To put your mind at ease before the harsh winter weather arrives, have your vehicle professionally serviced before the challenges winter can pose.

  • Battery:It takes more power to start your car in the winter. Your battery should be checked or installed at or above 600 CCA for optimal winter performance. If your battery already has problems, your risk of breaking down increases.
  • Cooling system – should maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. Ask your technician what antifreeze your vehicle requires and the appropriate coolant-to-water ratio to prevent corrosion and potential freezing.
  • Brakes – Cold weather doesn’t affect your brakes, but a thorough inspection can ensure the best performance when driving in winter.
  • Belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables – These can go bad at any time of year, so in order not to be stranded in freezing weather, have them checked periodically or as recommended by your service station.
  • Windshield wipers – Extreme temperature changes can affect windshield wipers, causing the rubber blades to crack and split. After being exposed to the dry summer heat, now’s the time to replace those worn wiper blades to ensure maximum performance and safety.


If you live in a frigid winter climate where the temperature consistently hovers around or below freezing, it’s recommended that you install winter tires to winterize your vehicle. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction in ice, snow, slush, and even dry pavement. The rubber compound in non-winter tires hardens and decreases the tire’s ability to grip the road.


I’ve been driving longer than I care to own up to, but I only learned about the importance of tire pressure and gas consumption a few years ago.

Every 10° change in ambient temperature could mean a gain or loss of 1 PSI in tire pressure. This means you should regularly check pressure during winter and refill your tires as needed. The appropriate amount of pressure for your tires can be found on the tire placard in the driver’s side door jamb or your vehicle owner’s manual.

Underinflated tires can lower your gas mileage by about .2% for every one (1) psi drop in the average pressure of each tire. When properly inflated, your tires last longer and are safer from unexpected blow-outs. If you’re like me, with the price of gas today, you want to conserve as much gas as possible. So, I go to Americas Tires; they check my tire pressure and inflate them for free.


Before heading off on a trip, store standard tools and supplies in your car in case of an emergency. This also runs true for summer road trips as well. Always be prepared, just in case. You can pick up a road safety kit at most auto stores. I got mine from Walmart at a very affordable price.


The change of seasons brings daylight savings and more driving hours in the dark. Make sure your exterior and interior lights work. There’s nothing worse than being pulled over for driving around with a broken headlight or taillight. So, as a safety check before every drive, it’s always advisable to walk around your vehicle and examine your tires and exterior lights. Even your cars blinker.


During the winter, as cars drive through salty slush, rust aggressively attacks any unprotected metal. Chipped or scratched paint leaves the metal of the car body helpless to fight corrosion. If there are any visible chips or scratches on your car, touch up the paint or have it fixed by a professional auto body shop as soon as possible.


Salt, sand, dirt, and debris are present on the road, even more so in winter, and can cause havoc on your car’s paint. Debris is pelted onto your vehicle when a car whizzes by at high-speed. Those grains of salt and sand can chip your car’s paint and cause rust to eat away at all the exposed surfaces on your vehicle if not removed immediately


Therefore, scrapes and scratches are a widespread problem on car hoods. Still, thanks to modern technology, a specifically designed transparent film that is barely visible has been manufactured for cars. They can be applied as a paint protection film, effectively saving the vehicle from damage caused by dirt, gravel, and salt.

Phone: (209) 718-7000 to schedule your appointment

Location: 500 Glass Lane Ste C-3, D-4 Modesto, California 95356

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