6 Cost Effective Ways to Winterize Your Vehicle

Car driving in the snow

Winter conditions can make roads dangerous. Driving under those conditions can be a real burden. Ensure that your vehicle is prepared to handle winter storms as well as to drive in snowy conditions by driving safely and servicing your car. 

When it comes to winterizing your vehicle, there are several things you can do that require very little effort. In this post, we list the top six things you need to do to take care of your vehicle during the winter season.

1) Wash Your Car Frequently

As any used car dealerships in Madison, WI will tell you, washing your vehicle is of the utmost importance during the winter season. Some drivers never think about getting their car washed during the winter season. In some cases, they may do it once in a while. However, with the winter season, it’s expected that your vehicle will encounter slush, salt, sand, and snow on the road. Therefore, it’s best that you get your vehicle washed before the aforementioned substances build up in various sections of your vehicle’s exterior. 

Some of the key areas you need to pay close attention to is the areas around your tires as well as the front grill of your vehicle. By keeping those areas clean from salt, dirt, and other kinds of debris, it will help to keep your vehicle in great condition.

2) Check Your Heating System

One of the most aggravating times during winter is when you have to escape the cold to get in your vehicle to go to work or on shopping errands. The problem can be even more frustrating if your heater isn’t working. It’s important that you get your heater checked because the defrosting mechanism within your windshield is connected to your heaters. You should get them checked in advance so that you always have a safe and clear view of the road.

3) Start Car During Periods of Inactivity

One of the biggest winter myths about cars is that you need to start the engine way in advance so that you can get the engine warm before you start driving. The reality is that you don’t need to “warm up the engine” way in advance as it will quickly warm up once you start driving it around. But, if you don’t plan on using your vehicle frequently, you’ll want to ensure that you run it at least once per week to keep the fluids moving around. This will help to make sure that your vehicle remains in good working condition until the summer months approach.

4) Winter Tires Vs All-Season Tires

One of the more evident things you should consider is the installation of winter tires. Some drivers assume that having all-season tires work just as well as winter tires. But due to the fact that all-season tires are designed to handle multiple conditions, the manufacturers have to make some compromise to enable winter and summer performance. What this means is that all-season tires do not give the same level of grip and handling that a winter tire does. Even if you have all-season tires installed, consider installing winter tires specifically, especially if you notice a higher frequency of snowfall this year.

5) Change Oil and Oil Filters

Have you ever asked yourself why it’s necessary to change your oil and oil filters? Regular oil changes help to prevent a build up of grime and overheating. Oil changes help to boost fuel efficiency and lower the chances of sustaining an engine failure. During the winter season, this is especially critical because the temperatures cause the oil to get lazy and thick. This can make it tougher on the engine, especially if you travel on the highway frequently. To mitigate this, one of the things you can do is to use an electric blanket for your vehicle’s oil system. In addition to changing your oil, change your filters too.

6) Get a Battery Tester

There’s a high possibility that you do not have a battery tester. Cold temperatures are even more harsh on batteries. At cold temperatures, your battery’s ability to provide adequate power to run your car gets diminished. This is because while heat speeds up chemical reactions in a car, the cold weather can cause them to slow down. You may even notice that your batteries become sluggish in the winter. 

Battery power is becoming increasingly more important because many modern cars have safety systems which run off battery power. By getting a battery tester, you can determine how strong or weak your battery is without spending money on a mechanic. You’ll also want to check for residue around the battery posts. You can use a wire brush to get rid of it.


  • Kate Sarsfield

    I rarely wash the car in winter as it’s filthy again in no time, but yes, it does make sense to at least keep the undercarriage clear of salt etc.

  • Tamra Phelps

    Well, one good thing about not having a vehicle is not having to do this every Winter, lol. But I really hate having to depend on public transportation.

  • Kate Sarsfield

    I woke up really early again. It’s 9am & the housework is done, breakfast eaten and I think I’ll go back to bed for a bit. Two viewings tomorrow morning.

    • Kate Sarsfield

      Oops! Apologies, got muddled up (Trying to do too many things at once). What I should have commented:
      Since Mum died/Covid I haven’t really gone anywhere other than into town once or twice a month. My car really needs a good blow out now and then to keep the battery in good nick.

  • Sarah L

    A year ago I found out the hard way about running your car every so often. I didn’t drive anywhere for 2 months and when I tried, the battery was dead. It also helps to have a garage which I know is hard for some people.

  • Tamra Phelps

    Winter is so hard on cars! It’s tempting to not wash the vehicle because you know it’ll be filthy again in no time, but salt, mud, snow, etc., are horrible for the car. They need to be washed off.

  • megan allen

    I have to admit I’m guilty of the first one! I very rarely wash my vehicle in the winter but I have to start being better about it!

  • Kelly Kimmell

    These are all helpful tips. I had my battery go out a few years back on the coldest day of that year. I know the importance of testing your battery.

  • Dana Rodriguez

    This is really good advice. You have to really mantain your vehicle in the winter so it doesn’t break down and get you stuck or you can’t control it because of the tires.

  • Rosie

    I keep wondering if some of the people I see that drive very few miles, such as a mile to the grocery store and back once a week, how they maintain their battery. I don’t have a car now, but I’m a big believer in good winter tires, it is worth getting a full set with wheels so you can change them seasonally without much ado.

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