It’s November! That means we’re nearing our infamous Iowa winter. Before the last leaf falls and the frost really starts to set in, you may want to prepare your vehicle for winter weather before it’s too late. Taking care of these things ahead of time can really help you when things get icey.

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Weather

Pack a winter safety kit

We recommend always having a safety kit in your car year-round including essentials like first aid, a flashlight, food, water, and traffic reflectors, at the very least. However, as seasons change, the risks of the road change too, and so do the items you should keep in your car in case of an emergency. For the winter, you may want to add your trusty ice scraper, extra antifreeze, a snow shovel and/or a bag of sand, a spare car charger for your phone, and extra warm clothes like extra socks, jackets, hats, or gloves. You might never need to use the extra items in your safety kit, but you never know when you might need them. 

 

Get a winter tune-up

As the seasons change and the year goes by, it’s important to get regular tune-ups on your vehicle. When you’re getting your car checked for the winter, you’ll want to make sure that you check on your battery, brakes, heating and cooling systems, components like belts, hoses, spark plugs, and other wires and cables, and all your fluids; oil, antifreeze, wiper fluid, etc. Check that everything is in working order that is crucial to the operation in your vehicle, especially in winter. You don’t want the defroster on your rear window to die on you on a chilly morning while you’re trying to rush into work!

 

Check tires

The roads can get pretty icey and dicey in the winter, and your tires are your first point of contact. It’s important to check on your tire tread and keep up with the correct tire pressure to make sure that your drives are safe. If you live in an area where the roads aren’t cleared often or well enough, you may want to consider swapping out your current tires with winter ones. 

 

Remember what to do in a winter road emergency

It’s always a good idea to refresh your memory on what and what not to do in case of an emergency on the road this winter.

If you end up stuck and stranded, remember:

  • Don’t leave the area your car is in, snow and wind can lower visibility. If you walk too far away, you might lose sight of it. Plus, it’s cold out there!
  • Don’t run the vehicle for long periods of time. Turn it on in intermittent periods for long enough to stay warm (about 10 minutes) then turn it off again to reduce the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Turn on your hazards as well as your interior lights to attract attention and get help.