University of Southern Indiana

Winter Car Care

Battery
Make sure terminals are tight and clean.  If lights seem dim or vehicle starts are sluggish, have the electrical system (including battery) checked by a technician.

Radiator
Check coolant strength with a hydrometer.  Recommended protection level is -36 degrees.  Never check hot.

Belts/Hoses
Check belts for cracks or fraying.  Check hoses for leaks, bulges, or cracks.  Make sure clamps are secure.

Windshield Washer/Wipers
Make sure reservoir is filled with washer solvent.  Replace wiper blades if needed.

Fluids
Check oil, brake transmission, radiator coolant and power steering fluid levels.  Follow owner's manual directions.

Air Filter
Hold air filter up to a light.  If you can't see through it, replace it.

Tires
Inspect wear.  Check pressure with a gauge when tires are cold.  Refer to owner's manual for recommended air pressure and tread depth specifications.

Lights/Signals
Activate to make sure all work properly.

Survival Gear
These items are recommended to carry in your car during the winter months.

  • Ice scraper/brush
  • Coffee can furnace
  • Boots, gloves, hat, blanket
  • Tools, flashlight
  • Tire traction material such as sand or cat litter
  • Food
  • Jumper cables
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Shovel

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