How do I prepare my car for the winter?

With winter heading toward Northern Virginia, the time has come to talk about winterizing our cars and trucks. Whether you are a seasoned driver from the Sterling, VA, area or a recent transplant, the checklist below can help keep you and your vehicle safe in the frigid cold!

The Steps to Prepare Your Vehicle for the Winter

  • Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid: Wiper blades degrade when the rubber sits in the elements (heat, cold, sunlight, etc.). They should be replaced at least once a year. Ensuring healthy wiper blades is crucial for driving on a snowy day. If your blades have lost efficacy this year, replace them before winter hits. The washer fluid can be replaced with a winter mix to prevent freezing.
  • Defrosting and Defogging: Between winter-ready washer fluid and the defogger, you will significantly increase your visibility while driving in a snowstorm. Test your defogging and defrosting systems.
  • Heating System: It may seem redundant to mention, but before the weather takes a turn, ensure your heater is working correctly. Test it by allowing it to run for at least five minutes while monitoring your dashboard indicators.
  • Healthy Oil: While regular maintenance is always recommended, having new and healthy oil pumping through your vehicle’s system is crucial for its health. The oil can slow its flow or even stop entirely in colder temperatures. Always ensure your engine is kept clean and safely lubricated with healthy oil.
  • Inspect the Tires: If we were talking to drivers in a place like North Dakota, we would suggest winter tires. But given our winters, many drivers in the Sterling, VA, area don’t feel they are necessary and instead opt for all-season tires. The best practice is four healthy tires, regardless of your chosen type. Ensure your tires are not degraded and worn.
  • Check Tire Pressure: Any seasoned Virginia driver can tell you the cold will cause your tires to lose air. It happens because cold air molecules get closer to one another, therefore taking up less space. Regularly check your tire’s PSI is correct for your make and model for better handling and fuel efficiency.
  • Battery Diagnostic: The batteries take a beating during the hot and cold months. Nobody wants to be stuck in a parking lot during a snowstorm, so have a diagnostic test run on your battery if it is over two years old. If the test shows it isn’t optimal, you’ll want to replace it before the winter sets in.
  • Antifreeze/Coolant: Coolant is the liquid that cools your engine. Your vehicle’s engine runs hot and requires a cooling system to keep it operating optimally. It will risk freezing over the winter without a proper blend of coolant and water. Have the coolant levels inspected, and consider using a winter-specific blend to prevent freezing.
  • Examine Belts and Hoses: The belts and hoses within our cars and trucks eventually become damaged. Between use and time, each component risks becoming brittle or even breaking. If any of these pieces are worn, it is prudent to have them replaced.

Winterizing Services at Casey’s Automotive in Sterling, Virginia

After you inspect your vehicle, contact Casey’s for the services you might suspect your vehicle requires. By implementing these steps into your winter prep, you can stay ahead of costly repairs in the future!

The best referral you can get is from a neighbor.