How to prepare your car for the cold weather months (giveaway ends 12/14/13)



My son (taken a couple of years ago) getting ready to help an elderly neighbor shovel out his car.

My son (taken a couple of years ago) getting ready to help an elderly neighbor shovel out his car.

Not everyone has to deal with driving in the snow and ice, but most of us do. Personally I won’t get inside a car if I so much as see a snowflake unless I have to. Many years ago my car slide on ice and spun around and left me a total nervous wreck (thankfully I wasn’t injured and my car was fine). Since then I get paranoid when I have to drive in inclement weather.

Living in the Northeast (NY) we know a thing or two about snow and driving in it. These are actual pictures of our cars taken after a typical snowstorm (as well as the photo on top).


My car shoveled out of the parking spot but still had snow to be removed on top. You can see how deep the snow was.


My husband’s car totally buried in the snow.

Some people are all set for “braving the elements” when it comes to winter. They make sure they have heavy winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves, rock salt for the sidewalk and steps, snow shovel and snow blowers (or at least a neighborhood teen or two on speed dial so they can come over and shovel for you). YOU might be ready – but is your car?

Just in case you haven’t given “winterizing” your car any thought, here are some tips to get you started.

Check your tires. Before the roads get slick, check your tires to be sure they aren’t worn and that they are properly inflated. You should be able to find the proper tire pressure on the inside of your driver’s side door. Cold air will cause the air in your tires to compress and may cause your tires to lose pressure, so make a note to check again later in the winter.

Wash and wax your car at a professional car wash. Putting your car through the car wash during the sloppiest season of the year may seem a strange idea but a thorough wash can remove harmful compounds that may cause damage when mixed with sand and road salt.

Experts from the International Carwash Association also recommend a coat of wax for an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Besides protecting your car, you’ll also be protecting the environment. Professional car washes can save up to 20 percent of the amount of water you’d use by washing your car at home. They do this by treating and reusing their water, rather than releasing toxic chemicals and grime into the storm drains, which can often occur when you wash your car yourself. You can learn more about the environmental benefits of a professional car wash at washwithwatersavers.com.

Check your brakes. Your brakes will work harder once the icy conditions of winter set in. Make sure they are up to the task by bringing your vehicle in to your mechanic for a thorough brake inspection.

Check fluids. In the winter, no fluid is more important than your coolant because, if you’re out of coolant, you’re out of heat. Your owner’s manual will tell you how much coolant you need as well and provide the correct blend. It’s also never a bad idea to keep an additional bottle of coolant in your car for emergencies.

Winter emergency kit. If you find yourself stranded by the side of the road, a winter survival kit can be very helpful. Include an ice scraper/brush, extra blankets or clothes – including hats and gloves – snacks and bottled water and a first aid kit. A small shovel can come in handy if you get stuck and a bag of cat litter can be used to provide needed traction for your tires.

Since we have five cats having kitty litter on hand is easy for us. We actually by the inexpensive litter to use in our cars. Plus just in case we run out of litter one night and the store is not open we can just go to one of our cars and get some. :-)

We also keep blankets in our car and first aid kits. I keep forgetting to pack some non-perishable snacks such as nuts and crackers. I have to make a note of that and do that later.

If you haven’t done so already please winterize your car. Even if you don’t live in an area that deals with ice and snow you can use this post as a gentle reminder to do some basic car maintancen (check brakes, fluids, tires…).

A special thank you to WaterSavers for these great tips. For more information please visit WashWithWaterSavers.com.

WaterSavers Giveaway

WaterSavers has also offered a great prize package for a lucky winner. One reader will win the following:

WaterSavers Cold Weather Survival Kit that includes:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight/Signal Torch
  • 2 AA Batteries
  • 2 Emergency Candles
  • Box of Safety Matches
  • 2 Hand Warmers
  • Emergency Water Bag (1 Gallon Capacity)
  • Survival Compass
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Cotton Glovers

The above items are packaged in a heavy-duty water and puncture resistant carrying case.

In addition the winner will also receive:

  • $20 Visa Gift Card
  • WaterSavers Reusable Tote Bag.

Thank you WaterSavers.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 14, 2013  at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number  generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and  will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and share a tip with me about preparing for the colder weather months – OR – why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget  (below) but you must complete the  initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check).  Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I am working with the International Carwash Association to share these tips. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. 

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.


  1. Mary Happymommy says:

    Always have blankets in the car in case your car brakes down and you’re stranded somewhere in the cold.

  2. Rhonda Mason says:

    I live in Maine so you know we have plenty of bad roads to drive on! Any extra protection is a good thing!

  3. I’d like to win this prize so that I will be more prepared for emergencies.

  4. krista lafave says:

    Living in Michigan has taught me a lot about cold weather survival lol. I always keep an extra blanket, coat, hat gloves etc in my trunk. It’s also a good idea to have the combo tool that breaks windows and cuts seatbelts. We also keep a flashlight in the car and it can also be used as a weapon lol.

  5. I would love to win this. We are currently in a winter storm. I try to prepare by having a flashlight, candle, blanket, etc in my car during the winter.

  6. We are actually iced in this morning and I have not prepared at all! This would be great to have on hand

  7. I have a few things in my car but this is so much more complete. I don’t have anyone to help me with my car so it’s up to me to be prepared.

  8. My husband is constantly giving me a hard time about not having an emergency kit in my car. This would be great to win!

  9. Rachel Miller says:

    I usually have a blanket or 2 in the trunk, along with some flashlights, but this would really get me prepared for the upcoming weather!

  10. Cynthia R says:

    i have an emergency kit in the car, last year my boyfriend bugged me until I got an emergency blanket.

  11. I live in northern vt so we get tons of snow-the best tip that I have is to keep active and not let the weather get you down!

  12. Karen Glatt says:

    A cold weather tip is to make sure you have your winter tires on before it gets really bad outside. Do not wait until the last minute to put on your winter tires, then you have to sit in the mechanic’s shop for hours.

  13. I always try to keep the car at least 3/4 full in the winter. I have water bottles and blankets in the car with extra shoes and mittens and hats and scarves.

  14. Adrienne Gordon says:

    i put an extra scraper in the car

  15. Jackie McNutt says:

    I would like to have this as I am a senior citizen on my own and would like the peace of mind the kit provides.
    Thank you

  16. Oops, nevermind open to US Only. This would be great to win though~

  17. I just moved to Ohio from Texas and would definitely need this!

  18. Margaret Smith says:

    We carry newspaper and rock salt in our car trunk in case we get stuck.

  19. Jessie C. says:

    We have our car winterized at local dealer’s, also add winter gears, blankets, food…etc into existed emergency kit in the car.

  20. april yedinak says:

    The tip that has worked best for me is keep kitty litter in your trunk to help when your car gets stuck on snow or ice.