Essential Car Maintenance Checklist for the Winter

Staying safe on the roads in winter can be a challenge for even the most seasoned driver. Especially if you’re based in an area subject to heavy rain and strong winds.

In fact, research published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reveals even light drizzle can increase the risk of a deadly car accident by as much as 27 percent.

Proper car maintenance is even more important in winter than any other season, but what are the key steps you need to take?

  1. Check your tires

    Always check your tires before winter arrives. If your treads have been worn away by months of daily commutes and driving over uneven roads, you’ll face greater danger in wet and windy conditions.

    Perform the penny test to ensure your treads are in good shape. How? Simply insert a penny into all of your tires’ treads, and if you can see any of Lincoln’s head, it’s probably time to buy replacements.

  2. Test your wipers

    Wiper blades play a crucial part in keeping you and your passengers safe in winter. Rain, leaves, dirt, and other debris was blown onto your windshield can compromise your vision.

    And we all know how important a clear view is for safe driving.

    Check how effective your blades are at removing moisture and filth from your windows. If they leave most of it behind, it’s time to fit new ones.

  3. Take a close look at your battery

    Plunging temperatures can disrupt car batteries’ performance, possibly enough to affect how quickly your engine starts. This is incredibly frustrating, particularly when you’re running late first thing in the morning.

    A battery load test will show if yours has the right amount of juice to work properly during the colder months, so do this regularly. And don’t forget to inspect your cables for signs of damage and keep your fluid topped up.

  4. Remember your antifreeze

    You need antifreeze in your car to prevent water from freezing the cooling system in your engine. But it’s easy to overlook.

    If you don’t already have an antifreeze tester, invest in one this winter. Just insert it into your coolant reservoir once the engine is cold to discover how much protection your antifreeze offers.

  5. Check tire pressure aligns with manufacturer recommendations

    When your tires are exposed to cold weather, their air pressure will drop significantly over time.

    Make sure you check your tires’ pressure frequently and confirm it aligns with the manufacturer’s recommendation. This usually hovers around the 30 to 35 PSI mark, but it’s best to check for sure.

    You can either invest in a tire pressure gauge or take your car to a professional. The choice is up to you, but it’s best to have an expert handle this if you’ve never done it before.

  6. Analyze your lights’ power and reach

    Your car or truck lights must perform to a good standard during winter. Not only are you likely to drive in darkness more than you normally would, but rain and fog can also severely reduce visibility on the roads too.

    Check your front and rear lights, as well as your indicators. Take the time to see how clear they are and identify if there’s any misalignment. Don’t take any chances: invest in replacements as soon as you spot an issue.

Follow the 6 steps in our maintenance checklist to keep your car at its best during winter. And if you experience any difficulties with your engine, battery, or tires, trust our towing experts to help you get back on track 24 hours a day.