If you live in a place that experiences cold winters, then you already know that driving during the cool-weather months can be serious business. In addition to doing everything you can to drive safely in extreme conditions, you should also ready your ride for low temperatures. Here are 6 essential ways to prep your car for the extreme cold.

1. Refill your fluids

  • Check your windshield washer fluid and think about replacing it with something formulated expressly for cold weather. Winter blends use a greater ratio of alcohol-to-water and are less likely to freeze.
  • Refill anti-freeze (be careful not to mix colors) or flush it if it hasn’t been changed in a few years.
  • Check your oil and consider changing to a cool-temp formulation with lower viscosity for better winter performance.

2. Get winter wiper blades

Swapping out your standard windshield wipers for winter blades can do wonders for your visibility in harsh driving conditions. These blades have been tested to withstand and perform at extremely low temps and are designed to be more flexible, protecting better against the buildup of snow and ice.

3. Take care of your battery

A bout of cold weather can be the death knell for a worn battery, so assess your battery’s health before the cold weather begins (hot summer days also take a toll on car batteries). Change your battery every 3 years (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your vehicle) and check for signs of corrosion.

4. Invest in winter tires

All-season tires are fine most of the time, but if you’re dealing with extremely cold temperatures and slick pavement, it might be worth investing in a good pair of winter tires. With specialized tread patterns and rubber compounds, winter tires will give you the enhanced traction you need on icy roads.

5. Check your tire pressure

In cool air, tire pressure can drop. You’ll want your tires properly inflated all winter long in order to maintain optimal traction, so it’s important to do periodic checks to ensure they’re at the right levels. Each car is different, though, so check your car manual for the recommended amount.

6. Grease your locks

Car locks can freeze in the extreme cold. Using a grease agent or lubricant spray can help keep all your car’s moving parts in working order. Inject lubricant spray into lock cylinders to keep things moving all winter long. And if you have a little extra time, try lubricating your door hinges too.

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about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.