How to Winterize Your Vehicle

Make sure your car is ready to face the harsh weather conditions of winter before setting off on your adventures into the woods.

| March 2018

  • Always double-check your car during winter, especially before heading out on long trips.
    Photo by Pixabay/Pexels
  • “The Winter Camping Handbook” by Stephen Gorman helps readers safely embrace the wonders of winter camping.
    Photo courtesy of Countryman Press

The Winter Camping Handbook (Countryman Press, 2016) by Stephen Gorman gives readers all of the information on making camping safely in winter entirely possible and fun. Gorman helps his readers properly prepare to face the challenging conditions that come with camping in winter, and tells them how to overcome the worst obstacles of the harsh season. In the following excerpt, he offers his winter car checklist, to ensure your car is ready for winter road conditions.

On a minus-20-degree evening I once saw a group of weary, happy campers get back to the trailhead at the end of a great trip only to discover that the cold had been playing havoc with their car while they were out playing in the snow. Their battery was stone dead, and it was an hour’s drive to the nearest town. Before you go, make sure that your car is in shape for the trip, too.

Be sure to read the section on winter driving in your owner’s manual, and give your car a basic tune-up before driving in the cold and snow. Check the following carefully.

Spark plugs. These should be in good shape. Replace them if necessary. Plugs are among the first parts to go in cold temperatures. And remember: If your car is fuel injected, you don’t need to pump the gas pedal before you start it. If you do, you risk flooding the engine and fouling the plugs.

Battery. You’ll want your battery at full power, so test it before you leave. Starting a cold battery at the end of a trip draws a lot of power all at once. If your battery is not in good shape, it may die at the trailhead, and you’ll not be happy.

Antifreeze. Be sure antifreeze is at full strength. People from the south should replace water with antifreeze before they head north.



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