Preparing Your Car for Winter Driving

Prepare your car for winter by examining its, (1) battery, (2) antifreeze level, (3) thermostat, (4) heater, (5) brakes, (6) wheels, and (7) window defrosters.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • In states where there is dangerous winter weather, auto insurance rates tend to be higher
  • You should have your car inspected for safety prior to winter weather driving
  • Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car in case you have an accident or get stuck in the snow

In climates where the roads tend to become slick and ice-covered during the winter, auto insurance rates can be higher than in other parts of the country.

The fact of the matter is that winter driving is inherently dangerous, and auto insurance companies recognize this greater risk.

That isn’t to say you’ll only face the threat of an accident during the winter or that you’re guaranteed to have a winter accident at some point in your life, but it does mean you need to be aware of how the season affects the road conditions in the part of the country in which you live.

Here are some things you need to do in order to prepare your car for winter driving:

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Prepare for Winter

Just like you prepare your wardrobe for winter by buying some sweaters, gloves and a winter coat, so you need to do some things to prepare your car for the winter months.

Making a few simple maintenance plans can mean the difference between having to file an auto insurance claim and having a stress-free and accident-free winter.

To begin with, you need to have your car inspected by a mechanic. You’ll want to have a trusted mechanic do some inspections on your vehicle.

The mechanic should check out your battery, your antifreeze level, the car’s thermostat, the functionality of the heater, brakes and the window defrosters.

In addition, you need to pay close attention to your tires.

You need to have a sufficient amount of tread to get you through the winter (See Tip #5). If they’re due to be changed, do so before the snow starts to fall.

You might even consider putting a set of snow tires on your vehicle if you live in an area that tends to get heavy snowfall. Snow tires will offer you better traction, and they are better able to handle the extreme weather conditions of winter driving.

You’ll also want to check all of your lights, including headlights, running lights, turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights and, perhaps most importantly in the winter, your emergency flashers.


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Freezing Windshield

Make sure to purchase windshield wiper fluid that’s rated for cold temperatures.

If you took your car to Florida in the fall and had to add wiper fluid, you should consider replacing it with wiper fluid that is rated better for freezing temperatures.

Sometimes, these can become blocked by debris or by wax. You can use a pin or a needle to clear any blockages.

Salt is damaging to all cars. However, a good wash and waxing will help to prevent corrosion of your car’s body, and it will keep it looking like new all year round.

Save Money on Your Auto Insurance

While you can’t avoid all of the wintertime situations that might lead to problems and auto insurance claims, knowing what they are can help put you on the lookout for situations that might lead to these potential disasters.

Enter your zip code in on this page to get started comparing free auto insurance rates and start saving some money!


Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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