The Four Cs of Winter Driving Prep

The Four Cs of Winter Driving Prep

By Lauren Fix @laurenfix

The Four Cs of Winter Driving Prep


Read Lauren’s article, “The Four Cs of Winter Driving Prep” in Parade Magazine here, and be sure to check out other great articles written by Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, featured in Parade Magazine!

October is Fall Car Care Month. It’s the perfect time to get under the hood before winter takes effect. Here are four Cs to get your vehicle ready for the colder weather: check, change, carry, and clean. Follow these tips, and you’ll stay on the road and off the side of it.


The Four Cs:



√ Lights – Headlights, taillights, turn signals, reverse lights and horn.
√ Tire Wear – Not just the tread but also any sign of uneven wear. That may mean you have a suspension or alignment problem.

√ Leaks – Check under the hood and where you park your car for any signs of leaks. These should be repaired as soon as you notice them.

√ Fluids – Check your vehicle’s fluids, including power steering, brake and transmission fluid and engine oil, as well as antifreeze and coolant and filters.

√ Air Filter – Change air filters every 12,000 miles or every 6 months. It’s easy to do it yourself! Be sure to get a quality name brand filter. This will give you better fuel economy and performance.

√ Battery – If you are having trouble starting your car, it may be the battery. Have it checked. Cold temps are hard on a fully charged battery, but they can prevent a weak one from even starting. If your battery is four years or older, have it tested or consider replacing it.

√ Tire Pressure – check for the proper pressures in your owner’s manual or door placard. (Don’t rely on the numbers on the side wall of the tire.)

√ Brakes – Does your brake pedal seem a little soft? Is it taking longer to stop your vehicle? Have your brake fluid and brake system checked by a professional. Now is the time – not when it is too late!



√ Winter Wiper Blades – the protective sleeve will help keep the blade on your windshield.

√ Winter Washer Fluid – de-icer washer fluid will make your life easier on those real bad days. It has a yellowish color instead of the blue stuff.

√ Snow tires – even if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, winter tires are your safest way to travel in bad weather. They are designed for cold weather driving. All season tires are just that, for all seasons in average weather, when the snow is deep and the roads are slippery. Worn tires can be even more dangerous with winter weather, so switching to an all season tire will ensure the safety of you and your family.

Buy one at



Carry these items in your trunk in a box or duffel bag. Or buy one here.

  • Jumper cables – the safest choice!
  • Tire chains – a great item to carry if the roads get icy or the weather gets out of control
  • Flashlight with new batteries
  • Tire inflatation product
  • First aid kit
  • LED Light Source and safety triangle
  • Protein bars – in case you are stuck and waiting for help
  • Bottled water
  • Snow brush with ice scraper – get the best one you can find
  • Blanket for every passenger
  • Hand and feet warmers
  • Cell phone charging cable
  • Paper towels and glass cleaner
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Work Gloves, duct tape, zip ties and basic tools



√ Clean and wax your vehicle at least once a week!

√ Windshields, back window and side windows, headlights and taillights.

√ Remove snow from the top and hood of your car.


Extra Credit:

Check out the Car Care Council for a FREE car care guide. And remember the secret to a safe fall and winter: See and be seen!

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