4 ways to prepare your car for winter

Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 21, 2014

A winter wonderland for children can be a winter nightmare for those trying to drive through slush, ice and snow.

But there are ways to prepare for harsh road conditions ahead.

Jack Nerad, the executive editorial director at Kelley Blue Book, said there are four key things to check before driving in the winter.

Check windshield wipers and fluids

Driving in hazardous conditions is dangerous enough. Doing so without clear visibility through your windshield is even worse.

Nerad said changing out wipers after a hot summer is a good idea. He said people should check to make sure they have enough fluid in their car as well to help swipe away dirt and grime from salted mucky roads.

“Make certain you have windshield wiper solvent in the washer system and enough of it because you’re probably going to use a lot of it in the winter,” he said.

Check your car battery

Car batteries last about 3-to-5 years, but autumn is a good time to make sure your battery has a good charge. Having your mechanic take a peek is a good idea, Nerad said. 

Also, make sure the alternator is in good condition, he said.

“You really don’t want to be stalled out at the side of the road in the winter,” Nerad said. “Cold weather takes a toll on your battery. It makes it less efficient and makes it harder to start or restart your car.”

Check your tires

Tires are obviously important to safe driving, but a lot of people do not know how to pump up their tires properly. About 83 percent of people don’t know what they’re doing, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association via AAA.

Need some help? Watch this video for some tips on checking your tire pressure.

Nerad said people could even consider using tires specifically designed for winter use.

Check your knowledge

Some people experience a sliding car for the first time in dangerous positions. But Nerad said people can become educated on the do’s and don’ts of winter driving through more than book knowledge.

Some places offer classes for winter driving. But a cheap version can come from driving in an empty, snow-laden parking lot, he said. 

“You shouldn’t feel helpless,” he said. “There are things you can do to mitigate the damage or perhaps totally avoid damage.”