How to prepare your car for winter

It never hurts to prepare ahead of time, including making sure your vehicle can handle winter weather before it hits.

AUSTIN, Texas — The weather in Texas can change in an instant. One day it can be hot and sunny and the next it can be freezing with ice on the roads.

It never hurts to prepare ahead of time, including making sure your vehicle can handle winter weather before it hits.

To help your car or truck survive, you need to check the battery, windshield wipers (including icing fluid), tire tread, tire pressure, and fluid levels. It’s also worth taking the time to lubricate the door and trunk locks to prevent them from freezing.

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Another good idea is to keep emergency supplies in your vehicle, just in case. These could include:

  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • extra clothing, including an extra jacket or rain poncho
  • a car charger for your phone
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • a child rescuer
  • a pocket knife
  • A compass
  • non-perishable food and bottled water
  • a bag of sand or kitty litter for tire traction
  • an all-hazards weather radio
  • a tool kit, including cold weather tools like a snow brush or windshield scraper and extra windshield fluid
  • jumper cables
  • a tow rope
  • fire extinguisher
  • a shovel

You should always monitor local weather broadcasts for last minute updates. Download the KVUE app for the latest forecasts and to follow the radar 24/7:

How to prepare your home for freezing temperatures and power outages

Tips for driving on Texas roads in cold and icy weather

You should also make sure you have phone numbers for your family, work, road services, and car insurance provider. It’s important to have them programmed into your cell phone, but it would also be a good idea to have them written down somewhere in case your phone breaks down and you need to use a landline.

If you must drive on icy roads, follow these tips:

  • Lower gears below the speed limit. These are set under normal weather conditions, not winter weather conditions
  • Keep three times the typical distance from another vehicle
  • Be careful on overpasses, ramps and bridges – all areas that tend to freeze first
  • If your vehicle begins to slide, TxDOT recommends releasing the gas pedal or brakes and steering in the direction of the skid until the driver regains control.

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