10 Critical Winter Tune-Up Checklist Items

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10 Critical Winter Tune-Up Checklist Items

10 Critical Winter Tune-Up Checklist Items | Road Runner Auto Care

Make sure your car is in top shape for winter. Simply follow the winter auto maintenance guidelines below to prepare your vehicle for winter. This checklist will help you choose the best snow tires, wiper blades, and repair businesses in case of a flat tire, engine failure, or accident.

Car Battery

Check your car’s battery first. In frigid temperatures, your car may not start. If you don’t have the instruments to examine the battery, take it to an economical auto repair shop for diagnostic testing to determine its remaining life and power. Replace worn-out batteries with the best you can afford. On frigid days when you need it most, a battery with higher cranking amps is less likely to fail.

Winter Tires

Winter tires improve traction in snow, heavy rain, and sleet for safer stopping and driving in two- or four-wheel drive cars. If your automobile doesn’t have a dash-mounted low-pressure alarm, check tire pressure regularly in cold weather. Tire pressure drops a pound per 10 degrees. Underinflated tires can blowout or increase stopping distances on icy roads. Auto parts companies supply cheap tire pressure gauges for glove box checks.

Southern California, where winters are above 45°F, can use all-season tires. If you drive in snow and ice, consider winter tires with enhanced tread design and rubber substance for maximum traction.

Climate Control Systems

Before cold weather arrives, check your car’s climate control settings. Feel the defroster blowing hot air from the front and rear window vents or the heater elements warming up. Fix system issues immediately.

Windshield Wipers

Replace streaking or skipping wiper blades to increase visibility in rain, sleet, and snow and minimize accidents. Most auto parts companies offer free wiper blade replacements for all makes and models of cars.


Checking your car’s lights and lenses in winter is often overlooked. Replace burned-out bulbs and clean dirty lenses to make your lights visible to other vehicles.

Wiper Fluid

Because salt, grit, and snow make windshield cleaning more frequent, check your washer fluid level and carry extra. For ice-free windows, use a winter blend with anti-freeze.

Oil Change

When temperatures dip, oil thickens, making your engine harder to start and run. Before winter, change the oil and filter and fill your car with the viscosity and brand specified in your owner’s manual.

Transmission and Brake Fluid

Winter car maintenance includes cleaning and filling tranny and brake fluids. If not, take your car to a mechanic or repair shop for a top-off or flush, or go to an auto parts store and do it yourself.

Winter driving requires antifreeze, especially in northern areas. For mild temperatures, mix 50% antifreeze and 50% water. If you drive in cold climates, you may require 60% or even 70% antifreeze to keep the engine operating properly. Above 70% antifreeze/30% water, radiator damage might occur.


Dry hoses and connections can split or leak fluids while driving, causing breakdowns and engine damage. Another important car care tip is to inspect and replace worn hoses before winter.

Emergency Road Kit

Winter accidents and breakdowns are dangerous. That’s why it’s advisable to include a kit with essentials like:

  • First-aid
  • Blankets
  • Rechargeable flashlight
  • Traffic deflectors
  • Jumpers
  • Power stick/phone charger
  • Multi-tool Knife
  • Sand/kitty litter
  • De-icer spray and scraper
  • Shovel
  • Snack bars and water

Driving Safely in Winter

Before winter, prepare your car for hazardous driving conditions. Winter driving is safer with an emergency kit, full gas tank, and these winter car maintenance advice. Road Runner Auto Care’s experts can help your car tune-up for winter. Pre-winter check ups give you peace of mind!