Prepare Vehicle for Winter – Checklists

Prepare Vehicle for Winter – Checklists

Winterizing Your Vehicle

Winter is a harsh and cold time of the year, especially in New England or in colder areas, such as the mountains or northern states/countries.

Christmas Snowstorm


You should always prepare for winter, as you would for summer. The similarity is that both seasons are extreme in temperature. Winter is cold and summer is hot.

There are many things you may want to check before the cold weather gets here. Create a checklist of things you will need before winter comes.




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Good tires designed for the snow and ice. You can always use All Season Radials as well, but it won’t be as effective in the snow.  Always talk to a person who knows a lot about tires. You can also put in the search bar “best type of snow tires for a year, make and model” of whatever vehicle you have.

Make sure you have a working flashlight. An emergency strobe light which is contained in an Emergency Roadside kit or can be purchased separately. A blanket to keep you warm without power, which is something that uses your own body heat to keep you warm until help arrives.

You should make sure you have an Roadside Emergency Kit which contains things such as raincoat, jumper cables, booklets, batteries, gloves, flashlight, tool(s), first aid kit and other stuff. Some kits are bigger than others, so they will contain more items.


One of the most important things you should have and have easy access to, if your vehicle dies in bad weather, especially snow storms, is Emergency Insulated Thermal Blankets. Some are silver with insulation and there are also Military grade wool ones that are great for extreme cold.

Having a small tool kit available in case you need to do any quick fixes if you have the knowledge to do that. They come in different sizes depending on how many tools are in the kit.

Make sure your vehicle has the proper jack to lift the car if you should get a flat and have to change it. (Yes, sometimes even in the bad weather.) The scissor jacks they give you for the car – really aren’t that good. They sell the better ones in the auto parts stores, some in department stores and online. Trucks have a larger, higher lift one as they have to go up higher to lift the vehicle. (There are also special ones for motorcycles, but I don’t see many in the winter time.)


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Wiper blades are extremely important in the winter time. You need these to be able to see, especially during a storm. I change mine twice a year as they aren’t made as good as they used to be and tend to go bad. If you do a lot of driving, such as a traveling sales person would, you may have to change them more often.

Snow brooms with extensions are great if you have a surface you cannot reach across or just don’t have the time to use a small one. The extender ones are much better as they are longer, and they lock into place. It has a broom on one end and a rubber side on the other (doesn’t not scratch the paint). See the illustration below. 

Steering wheel covers are great for keeping hands warmer in the winter time (unless you have a heated steering wheel). There are many to choose from and you can get really fuzzy covers or just cool colorful ones.  Sometimes these accessories will come with covers for the shift knob and the emergency brake handle.

(The best way to get a steering wheel cover on is to first warm it up so it will stretch over the wheel properly. You can do this by letting it sit on the seat of the vehicle in the sun or if it’s really cold outside, to blow hot air from a hair dryer on it.  Be Safe – Do Not Put in the Microwave, Oven or Any Type of Fire! )

Take the time to go to the store before winter comes and look up year, make, model of vehicle and it will tell you the size(s). Some vehicles have two different size wipers on them. You just have to look under driver’s side and passenger side information. You can also have an auto parts store associate look them up for you, and if you need help installing them, please ask if they can take the time to help you.

I also use RainX Water Repellent spray on the glass. It works at it’s best when using it before it gets cold outside (designed to work great with the RainX wiper blades). It helps to repel the rain, sleet and snow. It helps to keep your mirrors clear (even those are heated), and it helps to allow the snow, and sleet to slide off the car, so that you won’t have to work so hard to get the snow off and you will be able to see more clearly. I use it on all the glass and the mirrors.


Have the coolant flushed! Make sure that the coolant they are going to put in IS THE RIGHT ONE! I have a Buick and it takes Dexcool which is Orange in color. Volkswagen’s (VW) last I knew, take the Purple coolant.

Too many places assume the all the vehicles take just one or the other coolant. Make sure to look in the owner’s manual to see if it’s listed in there or call your dealer’s service dept with the VIN (vehicle identification number) to get the right coolant information on the vehicle.


Did you find this article to be informative? Did it leave you with more questions? Feel free to post a comment. Thanks!

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6 responses to “Prepare Vehicle for Winter – Checklists”

  1. kay says:

    Thank you for the post. I really enjoyed it. Keep up the great work!

  2. Sharon says:

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thank you for the advice – some of these might be basic preparation but we tend to overlook. So, it is great that you posted this article.

    RainX Water Repellent works very well. When I used it the first time, I was amazed seeing the rain pushing up the windscreen. A must have.

    Good Day & take care!

    • admin says:

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad you like the product. I’ve been using it for a long time now. Suggestion: works really well with RainX wiper blades too. They are designed to work well with the RainX products.

      I noticed while in the auto parts store yesterday, that they now have a purple bottle of RainX that is good in cold weather to -35F degree below weather.

  3. Simon says:

    When I first started driving about 30 years ago over in the UK we had quite severe winters to what we have nowadays. We used to swap over to deep-tread tyres for the winter period. I remember the speed limit was about 40 mph due to the thickness of the tread but when the snow came it could cope with heavy snowfalls ensuring you drove safely.

    Another useful tip is to increase the concentrate of windscreen wash for freezing conditions. I’ve fallen victim to the windscreen-wash freezing due to forgetting to increase the concentrate in the past, this does create a nightmare when you can’t wash the windows properly.

    Do you get severe winters over in New England? Our winters are generally mild nowadays.
    Thanks for the checklist,

    • admin says:

      Hi Simon,

      Yes, our winters can be quite dangerous. I think this is the year that we are going to get huge amounts of snow. We’ve had a few mild winters over the last few years. At least, that is what Mother Nature is saying. I’ve learned to pay attention to nature’s changes.

      I’ve never been to the UK. Do you folks have any alcohol? You can put a little of that in with the window wash (if it doesn’t already have it) as it prevents freeze up of the window wash. It’s an old trick.

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