Cars sitting outside during winter. Make sure you car is ready and safe to drive in the winter.

In the Midwest, winter is just plain hard. We dig out warmer clothes, dress in layers and perform protective maintenance on our homes. So obviously, it should be just as important to ready our vehicles for winter. You should always prepare your car for winter driving according to the worst weather you can expect in your area.

Here is a list of five common problems that can affect your vehicle, and what you can do to help stay ahead of any issues that may arise during the worst winter weather.
  1. Coolant systems that are not in the right proportion (too much water and not enough "antifreeze" or vice versa) will overheat if the water in the mix freezes.
    Solution: Have the car's coolant system flushed in the fall before the first freeze. You should also check the system for leaks and install fresh coolant.
  2. “Square tires” are common after a car has been sitting for a while (sometimes just overnight). The warm air in the tires rises and the bottom goes flat.
    Solution: Just start off driving slowly. It will resolve itself once the air starts to circulate again. Consult with a mechanic about snow tires or chains, and to make sure there is still plenty of tread.
  3. Harsh winter weather can freeze the fluids and/or water in radiators and ruin the paint job of an unprotected vehicle.
    Solution: If you have a garage, use it to shelter your car. You can even purchase a bolt heater to keep components warm at night. Otherwise, invest in a car cover that can protect your car from salt and make it easier to clear your car of snow and ice.
  4. Over time, your windshield wipers will begin to harden, crack and wear, leading to streaks and poor performance.
    Solution: Inspect them regularly, especially after a freezing rain, and change them! Use this as an opportunity to replace windshield wiper fluid with an antifreeze mix.
  5. Extreme temperatures can even freeze the gas in your fuel lines if condensation builds up in the hoses.
    Solution: Always keep the gas tank at least half full all winter. This will make it easier to start your vehicle on cold mornings.

Finally, check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock your vehicle with an emergency kit specifically for winter weather. Here are a few things it should include (find a complete checklist here):

  • An ice scraper and snowbrush;
  • Jumper cables;
  • A flashlight with batteries;
  • Blankets and extra clothes;
  • Bottled water and dry food snacks; and
  • Any needed medication.

Please be safe this winter, and do everything you can to avoid a winter automobile accident. But if for any reason you or a loved one are injured while driving this winter due to the negligence of another, do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys of Hupy and Abraham. Call 800-800-5678 for a free consultation, or start a live chat with us anytime at

Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham