SUV driving in snowy pass - winterizing your car

Winterizing Your Car

As the holiday season approaches, full of shopping trips and family gatherings, it’s easy to forget about the preparation needed for winterizing your car. Amidst the rest of your holiday planning, it is important that your car is ready for colder weather and icy conditions on the road. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your car for winter.

Professional Inspection

With the extra strains of winter, a second opinion is never a bad idea when winterizing your vehicle. We recommend taking your car to a licensed professional who will inform you whether the various systems and parts in your car (radiator, brakes, etc.) are in good condition. They can also ensure the fluids (antifreeze, brake fluid, oil, etc.) are at the correct levels.

Gas Up

We recommend keeping your gas tank half full at all times during the winter to prevent freeze ups. Also, if you’re ever stranded, your engine may be the only thing keeping you warm until help arrives.


It is always recommended that you test your vehicles battery throughout the year, especially during the wintertime. Colder temperatures require more current from the battery in order to get the engine started. To avoid a stressful situation, pack some jumper cables in your trunk and invest in an extra battery to keep in the garage for future use.


With the weather changing it is likely that you will be using your windshield wipers more often than not. To ensure your wiper blades are up to the task of winter driving, we recommend replacing them with new ones before the first freeze. Keep your washer reservoir full with a solution that contains an antifreeze agent, which are designed for lower temperatures. If you see any streaks on your windshield or cracks in the rubber of the blade, it is time to change them out. You can replace your wipers at most auto stores, as they are often inexpensive and easy to install. Now is also a good time to check that all the vehicles lights are working properly, so that you’ll have optimum vision at night and other drivers can see you.


Tire manufactures say the onset of winter weather is a good time to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Air pressure can affect steering, handling, gas mileage, and the life of the tires themselves. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tire loses 2-3 pounds of pressure. You can refer to the owner manual to ensure your tires are in acceptable range, and improve efficiency. It is also a good idea to check the tread on your tires before the roads get icy. You can simply place a penny in between the tread, if you can see Lincolns head In full view, it is time for new tires.

Winter Supply Kit

With unpredictable weather conditions, you never know when you may need to change a tire or jump start a battery. Having a box full of winter supplies in your trunk can make all the difference when something goes wrong while traveling on a cold winter day. Here are some suggested items you may want to include: a first-aid kit, a flashlight, blankets, gloves, warm clothes, an ice scraper, jumper cables, road flares, water, non-perishable food, paper towels, extra antifreeze and washer fluid. Amazon carries a plethora of “emergency kits” ranging from entry-level to more inclusive packages that have  radios, phone chargers, and more.  Keep you and your family safe and comfortable while traveling this winter.

We hope these simple steps help you better prepare for a winter void of any major incidents, and that you have a safe and happy holiday season.

To schedule an inspection, give us a call at (503) 363-6888.

Winter Driving – What it takes to be safe and prepared

Winter Driving – Make a List, Check it Twice


No one wants to be stranded with no battery power and no jumper cables. Keep the necessary supplies with you, and check battery life before any winter driving. If you don’t have a multimeter or voltmeter, bring it to your auto repair shop for a full pre-winter driving check.


Running out of gas isn’t too bad in the summer because, worst case scenario, you can wait for a friend to bring over a couple gallons. In the winter, though, you’ll need some way to keep warm during that wait. Fuel is what allows your car to run and blow nice, cozy, hot air. So, don’t let the needle get to the “E.” In fact, keep it above a quarter tank if possible.

Coolant / Antifreeze

Always keep a 50-50 ratio of water to coolant in the radiator. Some may say, “Just go all in! 100% coolant!” But, the mix of water and coolant has a lower freezing point which is especially necessary for the cold season. When in doubt, check the freeze rating of the coolant you use at the gas station or by purchasing a device from your local auto part shop.


Does it really matter to have snow tires when you have all-wheel or four-wheel drive? Yes. Just because your car is built for somewhat inclement weather doesn’t mean seasonal tires won’t give you increased efficiency and control. Most cars encounter 30% better braking power with the right tires for winter. Also, tire pressure is critical. Your tires are rated for a particular pressure level, so keep it in that range. If you’re unsure, have the shop regulate it for you to be extra safe.

Windshield Wipers

No one wants to be stuck in the middle of a downpour or snowstorm with old, poor-functioning wipers. Take a look at them as the seasons change, and replace them if needed. Glaring sun that’s lower on the horizon also means you want your windshield nice and clean for good visibility.


Obstructed views through any vehicle window is illegal in most states. Confirm that your defroster is functioning properly before it causes you to be late for work. This way, when your local police officer drives by, you’ll get a smile instead of spinning lights.


Have the shop look at your brakes so you’ll be set regardless of what mother nature throws at you. Know if you have anti-lock brakes or not because that changes how you’re supposed to drive in inclement weather which we’ll talk about next.

Take it Slow, Rudolph

Driving in the snow and ice is dangerous. If you can avoid it, do. But, if you must do some winter driving, follow these tips and techniques to be as safe as possible.

Use Snow Tires

Why? All-wheel or four-wheel drive are just helpful mechanisms but don’t guarantee the amount of traction needed for all bad weather. As stated earlier, you’ll have close to 30% better braking power with the proper tires.

Drive Slowly

When it’s snowing outside or there’s ice on the roads, passing should not be anyone’s highest priority. Make sure to leave plenty of space between you and other drivers and slow down before getting to intersections. That way, the light may turn green by the time you arrive so you don’t have to stop completely and start from a standstill. For the same reason, keep inertia for going uphill and brake lightly on the way down.

Know Your Brakes

Stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock brakes. Also, don’t use your emergency/parking brake if you can avoid it because it’s at a high risk of freezing when implemented.

Warming Up Your Car – Yes or No?

Some people think you must heat up the car before it can drive well. That’s not true. These days, cars are more technologically advanced and no longer rely on the engines being warmed up to go. However, it may help to have heat involved for defrosting. If you are going to heat up the car for this or any other reason, don’t do so in an enclosed space. This will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Few Last Notes—

Always get enough sleep before taking the wheel, have a designated driver if you’re drinking, and keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians.

Winter driving may be daunting, but the necessary preparations go a long way to keep you and everyone else safe.

Duramax Transmissions is here for you, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at (503)363-6888 or Click Here to Contact Us.

Happy Holidays and Safe Driving!