Winter-Wise Your Car to Avoid Getting Caught in the Cold

By Chrissy Gehlbach,EnterpriseCar Sales

Winter weather can be a challenge for any vehicle, but a little advance preparation can help prevent getting caught in the cold.  Taking preventative steps can also save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.  According to experienced mechanics and accredited Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technicians, a good place to start is by referring to your owner’s manual and adhering to all of the guidelines and recommendations specifically written for your vehicle.


  • Systems Checklist.  Inspect wiper blades and make sure windshield washers are working and washer fluid reservoirs are full. Ask a service technician to check the battery for load capacity and the electrical/charging system for proper operation, as well as all belts and hoses for softness and wear.
  • Transmission Maintenance.  Electronically controlled transmissions require more maintenance to continue operating at peak efficiency. Check the owner’s manual for information about the correct type of transmission fluid recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Warranty Repairs. Keep up-to-date with every preventive maintenance check detailed in your vehicle owner’s manual. Failing to adhere to specific use and preventive maintenance guidelines established by the manufacturer may jeopardize your warranty coverage.
  • Filter Changes.  Replace the oil filter, air filter, fuel filter, automatic transmission filter and crankcase filter at regular intervals to prolong the service life of your car and lower repair costs. Information on the correct intervals is detailed in your owner’s manual. 
  • Tire Replacement.  Match dimensions indicated on the tire information decal for new tires.  This will help avoid inaccurate speedometer/odometer readings,ABS brake malfunctions and multiple engine and transmission errors. Regularly check tire tread depth for wear and tear. Some vehicles with all-wheel drive require replacement of all tires at the same time because of potential driveline problems.
  • Tire Maintenance.  Use a quality air pressure gauge to check pressure at least once a week. Correct tire pressure helps extend tire tread life and gas mileage and contributes to good traction and handling. Incorrect tire pressure can lead to premature tire wear, lessened fuel economy or possible tire failure up to and including a blowout. Rotating tires regularly will also extend the tire life further. This is especially true for front wheel drive vehicles.
  • Engine Oil.  Always use equivalently ratedAPI (Automotive Petroleum Institute) oil that is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This will ensure proper protection of vital engine components at all temperatures and running speeds, assist in starting on cold days and help you get the most from your vehicle.
  • Gasoline Selection.  The gas you choose can directly affect cost and performance.  Gasoline that is too low in octane can drastically affect vehicle performance, while gasoline that is too high in octane can drive up expenses unnecessarily.


Looking for a quality used vehicle?  Visit our partner, Enterprise Car Sales, online at

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About Author

Bill Burpeau
Bill Burpeau

Bill Burpeau is a Financial Wellness Coach at Hanscom FCU. As a Credit Union Certified Financial Counselor, he is an enthusiastic advocate of everyone being engaged in their financial health, educated and empowered to make the best financial decisions for themselves every day. He constantly studies and is up to date with the latest financial management concepts and technology. Bill is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Business Management and served in the U.S. Navy as a Supply Officer.

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