How to prepare the car for the winter

With the arrival of winter, motorists have to face general driving conditions that are more difficult than in hot seasons, in fact it is necessary to prepare the vehicle for the impending cold .

Winter is coming

The summer season has just ended and the winter season will arrive in a few months. The calendar has its say and in a short time the very short days will start again, where the sun will set in mid-afternoon, sudden changes in temperature, the usual road problems related to the presence of snow and ice on the roadway. But in addition to running into difficult situations where the driveability of the vehicle suffers, the extremely low temperatures (especially in places where it drops below freezing) many problems come to affect the mechanical parts of the car, including pressure rubbers, brushes, liquids present, mechanical parts, battery and so on.

What really hurts the car are the sudden changes in temperature that occur from day and night passage. In fact, during the night, especially if the car is parked outdoors for all hours of the moon, the temperatures drop by many degrees and the harsh conditions cause various problems. So to keep your vehicle perfectly efficient even during the winter, there are some precautions to take before the start of the winter season and to check during.

Preparing the car for winter

In areas where temperatures get extremely low, the first problem motorists run into is ice. If the vehicle is parked outside during the night it is likely that in the morning you may find the windows frozen. In these cases, absolutely do not think about throwing hot water or ethyl alcohol to melt the ice because the thermal shock will be so high that it could break the underlying glass. Therefore, make sure that you always have at hand (inside the vehicle or in your garage) a special trowel to remove the ice and specific products that are sold on the Internet or in specialized shops.


The ice is a very powerful enemy, so much so that in addition to the outside of the machine can affect some internal components. We are talking in this case of liquids, which at extremely low temperatures and with the engine off could even freeze. The first liquid of interest is the engine coolant . If it freezes the engine will overheat and it will take some time for it to melt, and could have serious consequences inside the engine. Depending on the temperatures, you must therefore ensure that the coolant is made up of at least 50% antifreeze. If the temperatures are extremely cold then don’t be afraid to get 100% coolant. In any case, it is an evaluation that you can do with your trusted mechanic.

Another liquid that could be affected by the cold are window cleaning fluids . Do not use traditional water to wash the windows, but buy special products that have a good percentage of antifreeze inside.

Speaking of glass and washer fluid, also pay attention to the brushes for cleaning the windows. If they are old they may not adhere well to the surface of the glass, crooked, dry and so on. During the winter it is particularly important that the brushes run smoothly on the surface of the glass, to counteract the weather conditions that worsen at any moment.

Car lights

Another thing to pay special attention to is the vehicle lights . During the winter, with sudden changes in temperature, the opaque patina typical of headlights can be created more easily, which severely limits visibility in the dark. Since it gets dark for most of the day, the lights must be perfectly visible. Before winter arrives then check the state of wear of the glasses of the lights and if necessary use the products affixed to remove the opaque patina. In case your car needs it you will notice a huge difference at the first exit on the road in the evening.

Battery health

The battery is another part of the car that is particularly sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. Depending on the areas in which you find yourself, the changes between day and night are particularly strong and the battery suffers a lot. If the car is outside at night, the blow will be more strongly felt. Before driving in winter, check the health of the battery , that is, both its charge level and the starting charge, that is, the energy level needed to start the vehicle. Always have a battery recharging kit ready at home because with strong jolts you could suddenly find the battery on the ground one morning and remain on foot. To learn more, read also how to protect the battery from the cold.

A danger that you must take into account especially if your battery has several years of life.

Air conditioning

Do not underestimate the importance of the air conditioner . Before the cold arrives, check the condition of the compressor which must work perfectly as well as the cleanliness of the pollen filter and the air conditioning drains. In winter, in fact, you must be ready to frequently defrost the windows, which is impossible if the air conditioner and its components are not in good working order.


We get to the most important part, the tires that are in contact with the ground. As cold weather sets in, tire pressure could drop to 0.2 bar. If the booklet recommends keeping the tire inflated at 2.0, you could find yourself at 1.8 and therefore have difficulty driving. Lower pressures do not bring better grip on most roads. The best advice therefore is to check the wear of the tires and keep the pressure above the recommended level of 0.2 bar in order to compensate for the effect of low temperatures. Also check the spare wheel or repair kit .

Read also winter tires and snow chains what the law says and how to fit snow chains .

Car kit for the winter

Finally, get a car kit for the winter with everything you need to counter the sudden cold. Battery cables, snow chains or socks (to learn more: the difference between snow socks and snow chains ), gloves, a few pieces of cardboard in case you need to do some operations to avoid resting your knees in the snow or other, and some piece of wood to make the vehicle move in situations where it can get bogged down in snow.


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