How do I get my car ready for winter?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who is about to spend a first winter up north.

MaKenzie Gregory scrapes ice off her vehicle's front windshield as snow continues to fall in Scottsbluff, Neb., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Gregory said she didn't know it was going to snow that much.
–Lauren Brant/The Star-Herald via AP

Q. I recently moved here from Orlando for a great job. In Florida, we really didn’t do much to our cars as the seasons change. Now that I’m here, how do I get my car ready for winter?

A. The three most important items to get through winter are a strong battery, good tires — perhaps even dedicated winter tires — and keeping up with vital fluids. A battery becomes damaged during summer heat but works hardest during winter cold. Tires provide traction to both get you moving and stopping. Dedicated winter tires will provide the best traction in winter weather conditions. Fluids such as oil, engine coolant as well as power steering, transmission and even windshield washer fluid all need to be in good shape and be adapted to winter cold. You should also keep an ice scraper, long handled snow brush, extra warm clothes, small shovel, and even some non-clumping kitty litter for extra traction if you get stuck on ice. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.

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