Winter weather tips: How to protect your car in the cold -

Winter weather tips: How to protect your car in the cold

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By Brendan Marks By Brendan Marks

( – With not only inches of snow, but brutally cold temperatures expected over the next week, residents are being urged to prepare for the winter storm.

While homes are often ready to weather the cold snap, people often forget to make sure their vehicle is storm-ready.

Related: More snow, coldest temps in decades coming over next few days

Here are some simple tips to help you prepare your car for the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. 

Keep your fuel tank full (or at least over half)

In addition to the fact it’s always a good idea to ensure you won’t get stranded by running out of gas, it’s also important to protect your engine.

According to How Stuff Works’ John Fuller, a car with low fuel is at risk for frozen gas lines. If the gas tank is low, condensation can form on the walls of the tank, and drip into the gas. If water gets into the lines, it will freeze and block the flow of gas to the engine.

Replace wipers and washer fluid

While this is a no-brainer, it can sometimes go overlooked until a driver needs them. De-icing washer fluid is a must, and new wiper blades will help visibility tremendously as your windshield battles ice and snow.

Check all systems before the storm

For all the moving parts of a car, the stakes go up as the temperatures drop. Oil gets thicker, filters and heating systems face more stress and tires contract and lose traction. Making sure the oil doesn’t need changing, the heater works and the tires are filled properly is essential. All it takes is one of the moving parts to malfunction to leave a driver stranded in the cold.

Battery check

Of all the problems to befall motorists, a dead battery is the most common. Check your battery life before the temps drop, and know how low the mercury can go before your battery is in jeopardy.

If your battery has corrosion, make sure to clean it off before you need to jump it.

Have an emergency pack ready in your car

If the worst happens, and you find yourself in a snow-covered ditch, it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you have a spare set of winter gloves and an extra hat, a blanket, some food and maybe even some water. You likely won’t need a week’s worth of meals, but if you’re stuck for a few hours, some snacks and water can make a big difference.

Additionally, make sure your car has a spare tire, a flashlight, de-icer, an ice scraper and maybe some salt if your tires can’t get traction. 

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