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Five Important Things Every Car Owner Should Do Before Winter

Deidre Plotnick October 19, 2023
Mechanic showing woman tread on winter tires
While there’s so much to love about winter, getting stuck on the road in the cold just isn’t one of those things. Snow, sleet and ice present big challenges for winter drivers, so it’s essential to have your vehicle winter-ready. Here are some tips on what to do.
Man looking at winter tires in garage

1. Install a set of four identical winter tires.

We all know that winter tires help your car grip the road. (They also help you save 5%1 on your CAA Auto Insurance2 when you have them installed before Nov. 20.) But what you might not know is that mixing new and old tires works against delivering maximum performance. Using four identical, balanced tires helps improve your car’s braking and control on cold, slick roads. Don’t have time to get your winter tires installed? CAA Mobile Tire Change3 service comes to you and swaps your tires in your driveway.

CAA emergency roadside kit

2. Be prepared.

Keep an emergency kit with booster cables, windshield fluid, lock de-icer, flashlight, flares or safety triangles, an ice scraper and a shovel in your car. If you don’t have a kit, you can buy one through CAA. Plus, be sure to have your CAA Membership card with you or have the CAA mobile appTM in case you find yourself stranded. Not a CAA Member? Join now to get peace of mind when you’re on those winter roads.

Male and female mechanics testing car battery

3. Stay charged.

Stop by a full-service garage and have your car battery tested. If your battery is weak, it might not last through the winter. If you have a lot of onboard computer systems and are going to be away for a while, be sure you have a full tank of gas, fully inflated tires and consider having an automatic battery charger installed on your vehicle. Cold air can cause the pressure in your tires to drop significantly, affecting your vehicle’s ability to grip ice and snow. While at the garage, have the mechanic check your tire pressure, too. Don’t have time to go to the garage? CAA Battery ServiceTM4 will come to you to test your car battery. If a new one is needed, they can replace it with a CAA Premium Battery on the spot. Delivery and installation are included.

Pouring windshield washer fluid into car

4. Top it up.

Check, change or top up all fluids. This includes everything from engine coolant and oil to windshield fluid and gas. Be sure to have at least a half tank of gas. If you get stuck, you can stay warm by keeping the engine running intermittently.

Female driver in car in winter

5. Check in on your auto insurance.

The start of a new season is always a good reminder to check your insurance policy against your current driving habits to ensure you have proper coverage and that you’re getting the savings you deserve. CAA Auto Insurance offers complimentary policy reviews, and you don’t have to be a CAA Member to get one. See if you could save with CAA MyPace® pay-as-you-go auto insurance, on coverage for drivers under 25 in your household5 or if you’ve earned savings for your safe driving history. To get started, click here or call 1-800-222-4357.

Remember, winter driving means taking it slower, leaving more distance between yourself and the car ahead, and braking more gently. But should you find yourself in an unfortunate situation this winter, just call CAA.