5 Steps to Get Your Used Car Ready for Winter

Posted Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021

Staying safe on the roads is important any time of year, but especially in winter. Icy roads, snowy storms, and low visibility are just a few of the limitations driver’s face. When you get your used car ready for winter you are in a much better position to weather the weather.

No matter when, where, or how you drive, there will be times you will feel the need to be extra cautious on the road. With the average winter snowfall in Kansas being 18.8 inches, it’s wise to take winter driving seriously and take extra steps to protect yourself.

When driving a used car, make sure you have it checked out thoroughly and that you understand how the car operates. Since it’s used there may be things that need fixed up.

Take Precautions

  • Drive lower than the posted speed limit.
    • You might feel ridiculous driving 35 in a 60, but you are much safer.
  • Try out your fog lights.
    • Depending on how dense the snow is, sometimes using fog lights can cause the snow to reflect to you – thus reducing visibility.
  • Keep extra space between you and the car in front of you.
    • Braking on slick roads is problematic, you should leave 8-10 seconds of space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Only drive when you need to.
    • Plan your trips in advance, get all your errands for the day ran in one trip to town.
  • Keep your gas tank as close to full as possible.
    • Consider topping it off at every gas station.

Being stranded on the side of the road is never a good time. It’s bad enough when the weather is good, but so much worse when it is cold.

Not to mention how dangerous it can be. Stay prepared for anything by packing essentials to take with you anywhere you go.

Pack With Purpose

  • Warmth should be a priority
    • Take extra clothes, gloves, scarves, socks, hand and foot warmers, and blankets
  • Backup batteries
    • A dead car can lead to a crisis, bring a backup phone charger and/or solar powered charger, take a flashlight or two - with extra batteries.
  • Bring along basic equipment
    • Make sure you have an ice scraper in your car, take sturdy ropes and/or chains (for pulling your vehicle out of snow, dirt bank, or mud), bring a shovel (even a foldable one), and bring chains for tires.
  • Sustenance
    • Protein bars, water, Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE’s), Gatorade, etc.

Anyone who has survived a winter-weather emergency will have a thing or two they wish they’d had to help them through it. Being prepared can help make your situation that much easier with basic safety items.

Need more cargo space? Check out City Wide Motor’s inventory of used SUV’s!

Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Check your spare tire
    • Regardless of the weather, you should always have a full spare tire. A good fix-a-flat kit can also help buy you time.
  • Keep jumper cables in your vehicle
    • Make sure you know how to use them.
  • Check your windshield wipers
    • These often break and wear out quickly, especially in the winter. Start fresh!
  • Check your First Aid Kit
    • Check expiration dates and restock.
  • Keep a basic tool kit in your vehicle
    • Make sure it has a hammer, a multi-purpose tool, duct tape, WD40, etc.
  • Buy a roadside emergency kit
    • It should contain reflective triangles, flares, a window breaking tool, horn, compass, etc.
  • Keep cat litter and rock salt
    • Litter can help with traction and the salt helps melt ice (also called road salt)

Your car can be full of tools and items for preparedness, but if your car itself isn’t healthy, then you have bigger problems. So, before you drive off into the winter wonderland, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle thoroughly checked out.

With City Wide Motor's Vehicle Protection Plan, your used car will receive a bumper to bumper safety inspection and with our warranty program, you can relax knowing that you are covered on and off the road.

Vehicle Wellness

  • Get your car battery checked
    • It may be time to replace your battery, the only way to find out is to get it checked out.
  • Check and replace weather stripping
    • The stripping along your windows and doors can wear and tear over time, research what you can do to fix it.
  • Ensure your vents are working properly
    • Turn the defrost and heater on and check all other heat sources. Make sure things are working properly throughout the vehicle.
  • Invest in snow tires
    • Chains are necessary to take with you but getting a set of studded snow tires are also a worthy investment.
  • Get your tires checked out
    • No matter what season, but especially before winter hits, get your tires checked out for tread wear, realignment, and rotation needs.
  • Top off fluids
    • Make sure you are using the recommended winter weather oil for your vehicle, stock de-icing windshield wiper fluid and make sure your coolant is full.

Reading your owner’s manual to find out more about your car’s safety recommendations and features you can use to your advantage. Taking the advice of experts when getting your used car ready for winters can give you peace of mind and helps save on expensive repairs if something goes wrong.

After checking the main vehicle safety components like tires and coolant levels, you should do a final round of checks before you hit the winter roads.

Vehicle Prep

  • Lubricate windows and door locks
    • Use silicon spray to keep your doors and windows easy to open.
  • Check your cabin air filter
    • If it’s dirty it might be time for a replacement.
  • Clean terminals
    • Corrosion can become problematic. Get it cleaned up.
  • Clean camera and sensors
    • Carry a microfiber cloth to spot clean areas that fog over and dirty.
  • Check your lights frequently
    • Don’t forget about your parking, hazard, and fog lights
  • Plan your travel
    • Know your route, pay attention to road closures, congested traffic, and take your time.

As prepared as you are for winter travel, having a reliable vehicle can make all the difference. When looking for a used car that drives well in the snow and ice, keep an eye out for the following safety features.

Does The Vehicle Have?

  • All- or 4-Wheel Drive
  • Anti-Lock Braking System
  • Stability/Traction Control

Luckily, at City Wide Motors, we have great used vehicles inventory that feature all the above! Many of our used car ready for winters feature one of the most important: All-Wheel Drive.

Featured Cars

2012 Audi A4
2014 Kia Sportage
2011 Nissan Rogue
2012 Kia Sorento

Keeping yourself and others safe on the road is the best way to prevent problems on the road. How you take care of your vehicle and how you drive it will make all the difference in the winter weather ahead. Accelerate your future with City Wide Motors and Drive Your Dream in safety.