How to Winterize Your Vehicle

The ultimate winter checklist every vehicle owner needs to see.

Tips & Tricks | 5 min read
Published: December 14, 2022

If you live anywhere remotely snowy you know that winter driving can be…interesting. Whether it's the icy roads or the salt stains on every car, the whole thing is just kind of a drag.

Given our Canadian roots, it’s safe to say we know a little bit about winter, and there are a few things we do every year to make driving a little easier during the cold winter months. We compiled our top tips into the ultimate checklist for making sure your car is winter ready this year!

1. Winter Tires

car

First of all, we really hope this isn’t something you’re even on the fence about. And if you have all-seasons or 4-wheel drive - these are not an alternative to proper winter tires.

Winter tires are specifically designed for optimal control and performance in snowy conditions, and choosing to avoid them is a recipe for disaster.

Having proper winter tires gives you more than just peace of mind. Not only are they essential for improving traction in icy or snowy road conditions, they are specifically designed to perform properly at cold winter temperatures. Even on dry pavement, your all-seasons will start to lose their traction around 45°F  (or 7 °C). In contrast, a good pair of winter tires will provide you with better control throughout the entirety of the winter, even when it's below freezing.

2. Change Up Your Wiper Fluid

Before you start seeing those sub-freezing temperatures, don't forget to make sure you're switching over to a windshield washer fluid rated for cold weather.

We may or may not be speaking from experience, but take it from us that going into freezing temperatures with summer windshield washer fluid won't be fun. Getting something that won’t freeze down to -40 °C/F should be fine in most places and will prevent those frozen washer fluid lines.

We typically like to use Rain-X Winter Shield or something similar since the added hydrophobicity is nice to have on the particularly wet and dirty roads.

3. Protect Your Windshield

Jesse Derry


While that first snow may turn the world around us into a winter wonderland, anyone who lives in a Northern climate knows that the roads are anything from beautiful after a snowfall.

Pretty much everything ends up covered in dirt, slush, mud, and road salt by the end of the season. All that mess on the roads tends to mean more debris gets kicked up as you’re driving on the highway, which can mean higher chance of windshield damage.

On top of that, many auto glass shops will tell you that any repairs or replacements needed in the colder months may actually take LONGER since the resins used to repair small cracks can take longer to cure at lower temperatures. Rapid temperature swings can also cause minor cracks and imperfections to spider out into much larger damage, so you’ll need to be even more vigilant when temperatures start to cool down.

Making sure your windshield is protected before winter will mean you (and your windshield) make it through the season unharmed. Talk to your local installer about the best time to get windshield protection on your vehicle.

Pro Tip: If you live in a snowy climate, opt for a windshield protection that is durable enough to handle all the dirt and salt that is bound to end up on your windshield. Looking for something with a nanoceramic hardcoat, like ExoShield, will give you the best bet.

While you're there, you can also ask your local windshield protection film installer about other protection products like paint protection film. This is especially important if you have a newer vehicle that you want to maintain into the next summer season.

4. Wiper Blades

Driving on snowy and slushy winter roads leaves your windshield an absolute mess. If you haven't checked your wiper blade condition for a while, now is a great time to go ahead and take a look. Making sure your wipers are in good condition before having to use them constantly on wet winter roads will make your driving experience a lot more pleasant. Plus, keeping your wipers clean and in good condition are one of the best ways to maintain any windshield protection film products you may have installed on your car.

Do a quick check to make sure there are no visible signs of damage, and give them a good wipe every so often to prevent build-up.

5. Check Your Car Battery

car exoshield windshield protection

Depending on how hot summers get where you live, your battery can actually degrade if exposed to extreme heat without you even realizing it.

Since winter is the last time you want to be stranded anywhere without being able to start your car, it’s always a good idea to check your car battery before winter gets into full swing. In fact, just generally making sure that all the electronics in your car are working as expected is great for peace of mind.

6. Winter Safety Kit

cars rain windshield

Last but certainly not least, we always suggest making sure you have a basic safety kit in somewhere in your car at all times, but especially in the winter.

While you hopefully won’t need it, if you find yourself stuck in a snowbank or without a working battery, having the basics will make you thankful you thought ahead!

Whether you purchase a pre-packaged kit or pick and choose individual items that you may need, here’s a good example of a few things that you might want to have in your car during the colder months.

All in all, winter can be a wonderful time of year, especially if you’re going into it prepared. Make sure your car is ready for the road ahead, and stay safe out there on those roads!

Have something you think we missed? Head over to this video of us getting our car ready for winter and leave a comment!

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