The cold can be hard on us, but it's also hard on your vehicle. Winterizing your vehicle is a simple way to make sure it runs smoothly through the cold months.
Since freezing is a main concern, you want to check any and all fluids. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water for your radiator is recommended for most vehicles and climates, but you can check your owners manual or consult with your mechanic to be sure.
You might consider a thinner oil, since cold temperatures can cause oil to thicken. Regardless of the oil you choose, make sure your oil has been changed recently.
If you're someone who waits until empty to fill up your tank, you'll want to change practice this winter. A low gas tank can allow condensation to build up in the tank which can then lead to water in your fuel lines. To keep this from happening keep the tank at least half full.
You'll definitely want to replace your windshield wipers and be sure that your wiper fluid is full and freeze resistant.
The cold is particularly tough on your battery, so it should be in top shape before we head into winter. Check the cables and clamps for fraying or corrosion and replace a battery that's old.
Finally, your tires will get worn quickly driving in wintry conditions. You want at least 1/16th of an inch on your tire tread. An easy way to measure this is by placing a penny inside a groove of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln's face, your tires should be replaced. Your tires will also lose traction if they're deflated, so check the pressure regularly. You can check your owners manual for the best pressure for your tires.
Also keep in mind that as air cools down it compresses. That can lead to flatter tires if they've been in the cold all night. Give your car time to warm up and take it slow starting out to allow the air in your tires to warm up too.
Go through this checklist periodically through the winter months to keep your car in good shape this year.