How to winterize a car

Winterizing a car

Preparing for cold weather

If you live where winters are severely cold, consider installing heaters for the engine coolant and battery. They are sold in do-it-yourself kits in auto parts stores.

Listen underneath the car; if you hear the putt-putt sound of an exhaust-system leak, have it corrected. Change the engine oil, using the cold-weather grade listed in your owner’s manual. Do not use oil-thickening additives in winter.

Lubricate the car, including transmission and clutch linkages. Clean and tighten battery-cable terminals; replace them if they are badly corroded. Change the spark plugs and the plug wires if they’re heat hardened or oil soaked. Inspect cooling-system hoses arid replace any that are deteriorated or leaking. Flush and refill the cooling system with fresh antifreeze. Inspect the engine’s drive belts, and adjust or replace them if necessary.

Check the automatic choke and have a professional service it if necessary. Adjust the curb idle and fast-idle speeds.

Check that the windshield washers and wipers work properly. Change to rubber-encased winter wiper blades that prevent ice from getting into the blade joints. Install washer antifreeze.

If your car doesn’t have all-season tires, mount snow tires on the drive wheels. For safe handling, many makers of front-drive cars recommend using snow tires on all four wheels.