How to Prep Your Car for the Fall and Winter Weather

man pours windshield fluid in the snow

With the end of summer near and cooler weather approaching, it may be a good time to start prepping your vehicle for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. Colder temperatures can take a toll on things like your car’s tire traction and windshield durability. Plus, October is National Fall Car Care Month, so it’s never too early to get a head start on your seasonal car maintenance.

Here are several ways to prep your car for the fall and winter months:

  • Check your car’s fluid levels.
    According to, monitoring and replacing your car’s fluid levels is necessary to ensure your vehicle is running smoothly during the colder seasons. This includes windshield washer fluids, transmission fluids, coolant, brake fluids, and power steering fluids.

  • Check the heat.
    Since your heat most likely is the first thing you turn on after starting up your vehicle during the colder seasons, it’s important to make sure your car’s heat is working properly, as well as the defroster, which keeps your windshield from fogging up.

  • Check the oil.
    Make sure you are changing your oil at the recommended oil change interval, which can be found in your car manual.

  • Check the brakes.
    Since icy, slippery roads caused by colder weather conditions can cause braking problems (i.e., rust, overheating, weakened lines, and undercarriage corrosion), getting your brakes checked and/or replaced in preparation for the fall and winter seasons is crucial. Pay close attention to how your brakes are functioning and listen for squeaky, unusual noises that may indicate worn brake pads.

  • Check the car battery.
    According to Firestone, colder weather can also freeze your car battery. A fully charged battery won’t freeze until -76°F, while a fully discharged battery could start freezing around 32°F. Therefore, you should check to see if the battery is fully charged before the winter weather arrives.

  • Check your windshield.
    Since icy weather can cause damage to your windshield, it’s good to check for chips and cracks that may already be present. If you have a small chip or two that hasn’t spread too far, you may be able to get it filled. However, if you have a large crack that has spread across your windshield, getting your windshield replaced to prevent further damage would be wise. You should also check to ensure your windshield wipers are working properly. If they are noisy and smearing water and snow across your windshield, it’s probably time to get them replaced.

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