Practical Tips To Protect Your Car This Winter {Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I am working with the International Carwash Association and was compensated to share these tips.)

Americans’ love affair with their cars is well documented, along with the dollars they spend each year to keep them running.  This is particularly evident in the winter time when the harsh elements can challenge even the most conscientious car owners.  One thing’s for sure:  keeping your vehicle in good condition will ensure a safer ride in the short term and a higher resale or trade-in value down the road.

So, before the cold weather takes hold for good, here are some tips to help your vehicle weather just about any storm!

1.       A clean car is your first line of defense against winter.  While the winter season typically takes a toll on your car, proper maintenance can go a long way to preserving your investment.   For example, according to the International Carwash Association®, getting a new wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature starts to fluctuate can be your first line of defense against winter elements like ice, salt, sand and slush.

Vehicular corrosion also occurs most quickly when temperatures rise and then fall below freezing.  That’s why most auto manufacturers recommend getting your car washed and waxed at a professional car wash twice a month, especially during the winter.

Using a WaterSavers® Car Wash can is a strong first step to ensuring that your car will be ready to withstand the winter elements – inside and out.  It’s also a great way to protect the environment.  For example, these car washes typically use only 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car wash.  Learn more and find a WaterSavers wash at Washwithwatersavers.com.

2.       Rotate your tires. Most people know they should get their oil changed every 3,000 miles, but many forget their tires need maintenance as well. Tires should be rotated before winter and then again every 6,000 miles.

3.       Add some winter weight to your oil. Changing your oil and filter is especially important during the winter. Drivers who live in a colder climate should consider changing to heavier, winter-weight oil during the winter months.

4.       Take care of your wiper blades. Your windshield wiper blades are your first line of defense when the snow starts to fly. Make sure your wiper blades are in good, working order and replace them if you have doubts. It’s better to make this change now instead of finding out your blades aren’t working when you really need them.

5.       Take your car in for a tune-up. Any noises, pings or sluggish starts you currently notice will only intensify as the temperature drops. It’s best to get your vehicle in for a tune-up as soon as possible to get any issues addressed. 

6.       Give your steering some power. Check your powering steering fluid each month, and make sure the car is warmed up before you do so. If you find the level is low, look for leaks in the hoses or pump. Low power steering fluid will make your car more difficult to steer, which is something you’ll want to avoid as the roads get slick.

7.       Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous at any time, but they are especially deadly during the winter when you will be driving your vehicle with the windows closed. Have your exhaust system checked to make sure no leak exists.

8.       Apply the brakes. Besides the seatbelt, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. This is especially true in the winter when slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. Before the first snow fall, bring your car to an experienced mechanic to verify that your brakes are ready for the season.

Cold winter temperatures mean vehicle maintenance is even more important. By following these simple tips listed above, you’ll be able to ward off winter’s harshest advances, protect your investment and those who ride inside of it.

To learn more about protecting the value of your vehicle, visit Washwithwatersavers.com.

GIVEAWAY: 

One reader will receive a thermal travel mug, fleece travel blanket, hand mitt ice scraper and a $30 VISA Gift Card

 HOW TO ENTER:

Comment on how you protect your car in the winter

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends January 20, 2015 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident to enter.

Comments

  1. Arik Issan says:

    No soap, radio! I am only a passenger, no car.

  2. I protect my car during the winter months by checking my anti freeze and tires daily.

  3. Arik Issan says:
  4. We have the oil changed and put on snow tires in the winter.

  5. My best tip is to always take the time to fully scrape your windows! It’s so unsafe to just clear a small peephole!

  6. My husband is in charge of making sure all tires and fluids are filled.

  7. we put on winter tires

  8. Soha MOlina says:

    I park it in the garage to keep the elements away.

  9. Soha MOlina says:
  10. We protect our car in winter by protective car washes and having safety checkups.

  11. I get an oil change and my tires are aligned.

  12. I get new tires and have my car checked in the store.

  13. Angela saver says:

    I protect my car in the winter by checking the anti-freeze & tire pressure, as well as putting on new wiper blades!

    andysavi.mom@gmail.com

  14. Angela saver says:
  15. I don’t really live in a harsh environment so not much protection here

  16. Getting my tires checked and prepping with the best kind of wiper fluid for cold weather.

  17. Nicole Sender says:

    My car gets a tune-up w/ oil change and tire rotation.

  18. Nicole Sender says:
  19. Wanda Patterson says:

    I made sure the car got a good wax job, checked tire tread and changed the anti-freeze.

  20. Wanda Patterson says:
  21. amy pugmire says:

    we change the tires, we wash the car regularly so the junk doesn’t stick on it permanently and get it serviced regularly as well.

  22. amy pugmire says:
  23. I always check fluid levels… and I make sure to keep a blanket and bottled water in the backseat incase of an emergency.

  24. To protect my car for the winter, I make sure my tires have good tread and replace my windshield wipers.

  25. Lisa Brown says:

    i protect it buy checking tire pressure, oil, other fluids and wipers :)

  26. Lisa Brown says:
  27. We check the tires and the oil.

  28. shared on pinterest–http://www.pinterest.com/pin/400046379374983674/

  29. Julie Wood says:

    I protect my car in the Winter by making sure that my coolant is strong enough to handle the cold temperatures. I also make sure my battery is good for my car, and putting on new wiper blades, and having the oil changed that can withstand cold temps.

  30. Julie Wood says:
  31. I put up a sun shade to protect the interior and I change the oil around 4000 miles and always check my tires..

  32. I get my oil changed on time

  33. We fill up fluids, keep up to date on oil changes, and give them extra time to warm up when it’s cold outside.

    mysticbutterfly37@yahoo.com

  34. I protect my car in the winter by parking it in the garage.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  35. shared–https://www.facebook.com/wild.orchid.33821/posts/424442474379896

  36. get the tires checked to make sure they are good for the road and the fluids as well.

  37. Ellie Wright says:

    My husband makes sure our tires are good and keeps all the fluids at the right levels for winter.

  38. Ellie Wright says:
  39. tracey johnson says:

    We put in antifreeze and keep a winter kit in the car.
    The winter kit has
    flashlight
    batteries
    hand warmers
    gloves
    socks
    kitty litter
    water bottles
    candle
    matches
    blanket

  40. tracey johnson says:
  41. I protect my car in the winter by checking the tire pressure and car fluids periodically! :)

  42. Leann Lindeman says:

    My husband checks my tires to make sure the tread and air is correct.

  43. Leann Lindeman says:
  44. Deb Jackson says:

    I protect my car with good snow tires and regular maintanence.

  45. I keep my car in the garage and always check tire air pressure.

  46. Deb moretti says:

    I protect it by parking it in huge garage and getting regular oil changes

  47. Deb moretti says:
  48. Cheryl Abdelnour says:

    Having antifreeze is a must in the cold Mn weather!

  49. Cheryl Abdelnour says:
  50. I get a tune up in the fall and now I have new tires.
    Thanks for the contest.

  51. I get the tires checked and have a tuneup done on the car before winter starts.

  52. Danielle T says:

    I always let my at warm up and defrost before I take off

  53. We try to do so by ensuring it is regularly serviced.

  54. Had the tires rotated, changed the oil, washed it to get the salt off…we also keep it in a heated garage so it is really babied!!

  55. I am lucky enough to have a garage so my car doesn’t get covered in ice and snow overnight.

  56. By checking tire pressure regularly and when possible keeping it in the garage (to shorten warm up time on those extra cold days).

  57. vera wilson says:

    Have a winter checkup to be sure antifreeze level good, check all belts for wear, ect.

  58. i protect my car by changing the oil and checking the tires

  59. Susan Christy says:

    I park in a parking garage during the day and in my own garage at night. My car is out of the weather most of the time.

  60. Allison Downes says:

    We get snow tires put on.

    Thanks for the chance to win :)

  61. Stephanie Phelps says:

    I protect my car in the winter by parking in it in the garage and having the oil changed regularly!

  62. Stephanie Phelps says:
  63. Before the winter season, I make sure to get a full service on my car, along with rotating the tires and changing all the fluids.

    I tweeted the giveaway post –
    https://twitter.com/DianaDevlin/status/549408086692089857

  64. My dad always does a check up on my car and makes sure I know how to change a spare tire etc.

  65. I have weathertech floor liners in my car to protect my carpet from spills and salt stains in the winter! I also will run my car through a car wash a couple times during the winter to get the salt off it

  66. I use a cover-up to cover my car during the winter months

  67. Jessie Shiflett says:

    By keeping the antifreeze checked.

  68. Jessie Shiflett says:
  69. Marcia Goss says:

    I check the antifreeze level in the cooling system. Make sure you have a full reservoir of windshield washing solution.

  70. Marcia Goss says:
  71. iamalighthouse says:

    I protect my car by making sure there are enough fluids regularly!

  72. iamalighthouse says:
  73. Dawn Monroe says:

    We make sure the antifreeze is full, give our car/battery warm up time when its really cold and keep it in the garage when possible.

  74. Deborah Gardner says:

    We maintain the tires regularly. And we just bought new wiper blades!

  75. We make sure all the fluids are topped up and it’s always a good idea to have at least a quarter tank of gas.

  76. we keep a check on the tires and fluids!!
    bleatham*at*gmail.com

  77. I prepare my car for winter with a tune up. I had it done two weeks ago.

  78. I get my studded tires put on. I also get the oil changed and get a tuneup.

  79. My husband makes sure we have antifreeze.

  80. Nicki Joseph says:

    I park it in the garage!

  81. Ensure good tires and regular maintenance PLUS a winter car kit, extra clothes, shoes, blankets, and food/drink.

  82. I maintain regular oil changes and wash the car at a car wash.

  83. Making sure I get it checked out before the winter season and regularly check on if anything sounds strange.

  84. tracy webb says:

    I keep extra fluids in the trunk, and check tires everyday.

  85. Audra O'Hara says:

    My hubby checks our tires and windshield wiper blades.

  86. Audra O'Hara says:
  87. kelly tupick says:

    I keep my car up in the winter by checking and making sure all fluids are full and tires in in great shape.

  88. jennifer horn says:

    I keep the fluids checked and tires properly inflated.

  89. jennifer horn says:
  90. Deborah Gardner says:

    We protect our car by warming it up and by checking the anti-freeze!

  91. Rebecca Orr says:

    We start every season with an oil change, new wiper blades, a tune up, and a tire rotation. We also make sure the van is vacuumed and washed so that each season it starts off clean and ready to go. We live in NY and have harsh winters with lots of snow and ice. So when we get ready to leave the house, we start the van and let the engine warm up as well as the interior of the van. It isn’t good to just start them up and leave right away when your vehicle has been sitting in .zero degree weather for 10 hours overnight.

  92. I check the tires first and foremost, as the cold air seems to make them low almost every time I need to go somewhere! Also, my husband and I life our windshield wipers after getting home for the day/night so that they do not freeze to the windshield and ruin them. I also have a pretty neat contraption that covers your windshield to keep snow and ice off – but it’s so difficult to get it on and strapped inside of the doors with just one person, so many times I end up skipping this as I have a 10 month old who I need to worry about getting into the warm house. It would be awesome to win this giveaway and help stock up on essentials that need to be kept in the car – deicer, oil, etc… I used to have one of the “mitt” type of ice scraper and they are great for those days when the real-feel temperature and windchill are so low that you can barely stand to grip the scraper. Thanks for the chance to win!

  93. Shared on Pinterest and Facebook! :)

    Good luck everyone!

  94. Julie Raye says:

    Making sure that it gets regularly checked!

  95. check my tires and change wiper blades

  96. I always have my tires rotated for the winter! I also get an oil change, but need to remember to get my car washed often for all the salt and sand on the icy roads. I know that takes a toll on the car!

  97. Annmarie W. says:

    I protect my car in the winter by making sure to always park it in the garage…and to let it warm up a bit before I start to drive it.

  98. Annmarie W. says:
  99. I get my car checked at the shop

  100. I always make sure that my tires and battery are good to go

  101. I don’t have to I live in the deep south so there’s not much weather damage to cars here.

  102. Jessica Naca says:

    I change my oil before the extreme cold and wash my car after each snow storm.

  103. marnie ward says:

    You can protect your car in the winter by making sure your car has had it’s winter maintenance. You can either look in your car manual or take your car to someone who will check you fluids, tire pressure, windshield wipers, etc. Always keep a blanket and extra water and food with you in case you get stuck. Better to be safe than sorry.

  104. I keep an emergency kit in the car just in case of a breakdown.

  105. I get my tires and oil checked.

  106. I protect my car for the winter by making it to my local garage and getting the Anti-Freeze replenished, As well as to make sure all fluids are where they should be. I have them check the Battery to make sure there are no forseeable problems with it. Also, I have my Tires Rotated.

  107. I shared on Pinterest – URL: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/140526450848875631/

  108. always checking to make sure everything is running smoothly on the car.

  109. Always check the tires and fluids!

  110. We always FULLY clean off the car. Ice AND snow. I’ve seen too many people get hit by snow falling off other peoples’ cars and people with only a tiny little patch of ice cleared from the windows…scary!

  111. I take it to my local car shop

  112. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    We protect our car by keeping it in the garage and making sure it has fluids.

  113. Leigh Anne Borders says:
  114. I protect my car by checking its tires, and putting the antifreeze for it!

  115. I also shared this awesome giveaway on twitter: https://twitter.com/carabao62/status/556767261156200449
    Thank You for the chancw

  116. maleficent m says:

    I protect my car by obsessive check the anti-freeze levels.

  117. Kristin Goodson says:

    Get new tires and check the tread. I make sure my windshield wipers are working and I have anti-freeze and oil. I also make sure to start my car up every now and then if I’m not driving it around a lot.

  118. Birdiebee says:

    I have all of my fluids checked, oil changed and air pressure checked in my vehicle to get ready for winter.

  119. Birdiebee says:
  120. Allyson Tice says:

    I protect it by washing it once a week to remove the salt and snow!

  121. I really only know how to check the tires. My dad helps me with the rest.

  122. Candace M says:

    My husband checks my tires weekly.

  123. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I change my wiper blades

  124. Amanda Sakovitz says:
  125. quick check of the car in the mornings and taking it to the shop when it needs have maintenance checks.

  126. I protect my car in the winter by getting a tuneup in late Fall and keeping the gas tank full.

  127. Allison S. says:

    I need to take better care of my car in the winter!

  128. Amy Tebow says:
  129. Amy Tebow says:

    We have windshield ice blankets and always make sure tires and oil have been maintained before weather hits

  130. Dawn Monroe says:
  131. megan Tilley says:

    We get our car ready for the winter by checking hoses and fluids and making sure we have blankets in the car incase we were to break down.

  132. Liberty Boblett says:

    I have an older car, so I check my oil and tires every week. I also just had new front brakes put on. :)

  133. Jeanne Medina says:

    I just take my car in to the Goodyear and they maintenance it, make sure my antifreeze is good, check the tire pressure etc.

  134. Jeanne Medina says:

    I just take my car in to the Goodyear and they maintenance it, make sure my antifreeze is good, check the tire pressure etc.

  135. Liberty Boblett says:
  136. kathy dalton says:

    I am lucky in that i live in Florida but we do have some below freezing temps here. I keep a blanket in the trunk as well as an led flashlight, an extra cell charger, snacks, and jumper cables

  137. kathy dalton says:
  138. I go to a car wash to rinse off the road salt.

  139. angela cisco says:

    I leave that all up to my husband. Except I did change out the washer fluid for a winter mix.

  140. Diana Hatch says:

    Washing it often and keeping it in the garage

  141. I make sure I get a oil change!

  142. I make sure I get an oil change and check my tires .

  143. TallulahJane says:

    I live in the south so weatherproofing the car is more of making sure I have adequate antifreeze and air pressure in my tires. I also always make sure I have a first aid kit and blanket in my car just in case.

  144. TallulahJane says:
  145. My son took my car for a tune up and he changed the oil.

  146. My husband always gives both of our cars a good tune up in fall so that they are all set for winter. He is also pretty OCD about checking the tire pressure, especially during the winter.

  147. I always get my tires checked out and get an oil change before winter.

  148. Elizabeth Newsome says:

    I check the battery, tires, and wiper blades!

  149. Elizabeth Newsome says:
  150. lissa crane says:

    I protect my car in the Winter by making sure all the fluids are changed and full, especially the windshield wiper fluid, so I can see on those days when you need it most!

  151. lissa crane says:
  152. We always check the fluids and the tires to mamake sure that they are good for the winter months.

  153. Checking the tires. You have to have good tread, especially in the snow, sleet and rain.

  154. steve weber says:

    Make sure to check all the fluid levels and tire pressure.

  155. Darlene Owen says:

    I protect my car by always getting the oil changed and make sure all the fluids are full.

  156. We get a tune-up/oil-change in the fall. We also typically go to a carwash partway through the winter to get rid of salt buildup on the car.

  157. Jessica Massaway says:

    We protect our car in the winter by always keeping the wheel wells free of as much snow as possible. We also always make sure to have window wash solvent that is appropriate for the freezing weather we have!

  158. We get all the fluids checked twice and oil changes, tires rotated and keep it washed to keep salt off!

  159. my mom always had me put HEET in the gas tank

  160. Wes Hovorka says:

    I will keep my car full of gas and make sure I scrape off all the ice on the wind shield. whovorka at yahoo dot com

  161. LynneMarie says:

    I use windshield washer fluid that is specific to freezing temps. I also keep the car in the garage and wash off the salt after snowstorms.

  162. Wes Hovorka says:

    shared on facebook https://www.facebook.com/wes.hovorka/posts/1536215319967781 whovorka at yahoo dot com

  163. i protect my car in the winter by checking tire pressure often. I add air when needed, and make sure my tires are ready to handle any condition.

  164. I tweeted on twitter, @taryn221

  165. Checking the tires. You have to have good tread.

  166. Amanda Hoffman says:

    keep it checked every year

  167. Anne Perry says:

    I check the tire pressure and carry my AAA CARD.

  168. Anne Perry says:
  169. I allow time for my car to warm up before I drive it and get it washed after I’ve been driving on salted roads. I also try to never let the gas tank get below half full when it’s below freezing!

  170. I get it serviced for the winter

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

  171. Dusty Schnur says:

    I protect my car in the winter by constantly checking fluids (usually once a week).

  172. We don’t really do anything special during the winter months but thanks for the reminder that we should!

  173. We usually make sure all the fluids are were they need to be and then check the tire pressure. Of course, if we have a good snow then there would usually be salt on the roads so if that were the case we take it to get a wash after everything is thawed.

  174. I try to park in the garage in winter when possible to protect my car.

  175. I change the oil regularly.

  176. I wash and wax my car to add a protection against road salt, dirt, etc

  177. I keep up on my vehicle and make sure it has all fluids full and make sure that if it can be a anti-freeze fluid it is. Thanks for the chance to win. joricker@hotmail.com

  178. Thomas Murphy says:

    I put snow tires on my car for the winter.

  179. Deb Jackson says:

    I protect it with winterizing the fluids and adding air to the tires.

  180. Thomas Murphy says:
  181. Leigh Anne Borders says:
  182. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    I prepare ahead of time by having the car ready and stocked with various supplies like blankets, water, food, oil, etc..

  183. get a complete tune up and everything checked.

  184. Audra watts says:

    I check the pressure in my tires

  185. I check my tire treads and/or get winter tires

  186. Nancy Loring says:

    Winters are brutal around here so to help protect my car I always put studded tires on my car. I keep sand,antifreeze, windshield washer fluid in my trunk just in case. I bring my car to my mechanic and he checks my oil and all of my fluids. On warm enough days I always go to the carwash to get all the salt, sand and yuck off my car.

  187. I keep my oil and tires checked and make sure I have anti freeze. I always carry an extra coat in the car too.

  188. Nancy Loring says:
  189. Jasmine R says:

    We always make sure the windows are cleaned off before we hit the road and making sure there is antifreeze

  190. Deanna Middendorf says:

    Before winter hits I get a tune up, a tire rotation and tire check, an oil change, new wiper blades, and check the anti freeze.

  191. Jasmine R says:
  192. Deanna Middendorf says:
  193. Danielle Jones says:

    I check my tire pressure often in the winter time. Also a tip for your safety is that I always make sure I have plenty of gas. Just incase I get stuck out or behind a wreck.

  194. wen budro says:

    I put on my studded winter tires and check he fluids, etc. I also slow down and keep the ice in mind when I’m driving….that protects my car too.

  195. wen budro says:
  196. We make sure that all the fluids are full and the tires have air.

  197. Crystal Rose says:

    I make sure there’s enough air in the tires.

  198. Crystal Rose says:
  199. Before winter weather starts, we get a tune-up on our car. We also wash it regularly.

  200. Every year I get an oil change, antifreeze put in, new wiper blades, check tires. I keep a blanket, water,snacks,flashlight and an emergency road service/first aid kit. I like to be prepared so when I go out of town Im ready for weather change. Thank you for the chance :)

  201. I protect my car by parking in the garage.

  202. Melinda STephens says:

    We check our tire treads. toastersareflying @ gmail.com

  203. Alison Matalanis says:

    I always fill up my car with windshield fluid.

  204. Alison Matalanis says:
  205. I keep my tires properly inflated. I like to use Rain-ex on my windshield. I also park in my garage.

  206. laurie murley says:

    my tip is to check all your fluids and the air in your tires

  207. I make sure I get it washed regularly. They salt the roads really heavily here, which is hard on the car.

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