Winterizing the WellCar Way

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Kids back at school (HALLELUJAH)! Check. Expertly carved Jack-o’-lantern smartly positioned at the front door. Check. Completed Winterizing to-dos for Harriet (What? Doesn’t everyone name their cars?). Check?

Do you have  freezing temperatures or lower (Ugh!) where you live? Are you planning road trips to frigid northern tundra? Prepare now for winter driving and save yourself the stress of potential emergency services and repairs. You do this by properly winterizing your vehicle. Yes, it’s more fun to hike the hills and take in vibrant fall foliage! BUT, when your car is stuck, and  the rear defroster stops working you’ll wish you had opted to winterize your vehicle instead of taking a hike!

Prepping for winter driving can be expensive. At WellCar, we have your back. Wellcar members can hundreds on vehicle winterizing (Want to learn more? Click here.)! Bonus! Use the WellCar mobile app to locate an auto shop, take advantage of 10%-25% off of your service, and score reward points! Use reward points to pay for your already low price WellCar membership fee! Wow, what savings. Cool right?

Are you asking, “Why do I need to winterize my ride?” In a nutshell, winterizing protect your vehicle and its parts from extreme temperatures. You need to take care of your vehicle regardless the season or time of year. The bottom line is, the winter weather can weaken your vehicle’s systems. As a result there are a few important things you can do to winterize your vehicle which also lowers your stress level.

The MOST important things to properly winterize your car

Check Fluids


When the temperature drops,  protect your car’s engine with the right water/antifreeze mixture. The right mix keeps the radiator fluid from freezing. Geek moment: The effectiveness of vehicle coolant is based on the ratio of water to antifreeze. For winter weather the recommended ratio of antifreeze to water is between 50/50 and 70/30. The  vehicle’s owner’s manual should indicate the proper coolant for your engine system. To prevent against corrosion and potential freezing, ask your shop technician what antifreeze to use and the appropriate coolant-to-water ratio.


If you live in northern Maine or somewhere that is regularly below freezing during the winter, you might want to switch to a thinner oil. Check your owner’s manual. It should indicate whether your vehicle needs thinner (less viscose) oil in the wintertime. Just a bit of nerdy information here, the W on the oil bottle label stands for winter. The number on the label (like 5W) indicates how well it performs in colder temperatures. If your owner’s manual does not give you enough information about the oil your vehicle needs to perform optimally in the winter, talk to your favorite technician at your auto repair shop.

Washer fluid

It is unnerving when a tractor trailer truck pummels your windshield with snow and mud! This is only made worse when you discover you cannot clean it because you are out of washer fluid? Avoid this situation and regularly check and refill your car’s washer fluid. Nerd alert! Do not to pour fluid into an empty washer tank when the temperatures are below freezing because this can cause the tank to crack. In the winter, consider switching to a washer fluid that does not freeze. Keep an extra bottle of freeze free washer fluid in your vehicle. 

Deicing fluid

Is your vehicle lock a traditional one? Do you need a traditional key to open the vehicle doors? When temperatures drop, your door locks can freeze. If you try forcing a key into a frozen lock the key can break. Save yourself a headache and keep deicing fluid on hand (Tip: don’t keep it in your glove box since you won’t be able to get to it when you are locked out of the car). Store deicer in your desk at work and in your house or garage, so you can get it when you need it. If you don’t have deicer and your lock are frozen, you can blow your warm breath into the lock cylinder or defrost the lock with a hairdryer.

Winter Wipers

A dirty windshield makes it nearly impossible to see the road in front of you. Winter wiper blades are made with extra rubber to avoid ice build-up. Thus they more efficiently clean a grimy windshield. Avoid hanging out the window to catch and slap clean the wipers. Purchase winter wiper blades at any auto supply store, or have them installed at your favorite auto shop. Remember to swap winter blades in the spring. The rubber on winter wipers makes the wiper motor work harder. We know how much it rains in April! Change the wiper blades in the spring and your wiper motor will thank you.

Car Battery

Colder temperatures make a car battery work harder to crank the engine. Are you thinking it’s time to move south? Fear not! Check your battery or take it to the auto shop for testing and inspection. Battery cables, terminal connections and fluids should all be checked. If it’s determine a battery replacement is necessary, get it installed before colder temperatures demand extra work from it. It’s no fun when you need to get to work and find yourself looking for a neighbor to jump start your ride. Geek moment: a battery’s ideal cold cranking amps (CCA’s) is determined based on the vehicle you drive and where you live. More CCAs are needed to start your car in cold temperatures. Any local auto parts store can help you figure out the ideal CCAs for the make and model of your car.


No matter the season, vehicle tires need to be inflated to the proper pound per square inch (PSI). Colder temperatures reduce the pressure inside tires so check the PSI regularly. The inside of the driver door or the gas tank cover should indicate the proper PSI for your vehicle. If you do a lot of winter driving, and live in an area with intense winters, consider snow tires. Snow tires are optimized with rubber compounds that help hug the road in snowy, icy conditions. When the weather starts warming up, change your tires back. Snow tires are not meant to be driven all year round because they have reduced tread life compared to standard tires. If you don’t have intense winters where you live, all-season tires should be fine all winter long.

Rear Window Defroster

It’s good to go through life looking ahead, but you must be able to see behind you when you’re driving. There are several states with laws stating that all vehicle windows must be clear of debris and condensation. When preparing for winter, make sure your rear window defroster is working properly. As backup, have 1 or 2 extra ice scrapers to do the hard ice and snow removal work.

Emergency Roadside Kit

Regardless the time of year, an emergency roadside kit is always a good idea. A basic kit should include road flares, a first aid kit, a car toolbox, flashlight with extra batteries, and jumper cables. There are a few additional items in a winter emergency kit including; a blanket, extra warm clothing (including socks and boots), extra ice scraper, bag of sand or kitty litter, shovel, water and non-perishable snacks. Pop a couple of cell phone charging cables in the kit. Charging cables stop working when the connectors become weak or loose so a couple of extras come in handy. Stuck on the side of the road? Only start your car to warm up the inside, and briefly charge your phone. Conserve gas and avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. TikTok and Instagram will wait!


Fill up often! Keeping gas in the tank is more important in winter than in summer. Why? For one thing, a full tank reduces condensation, which can prevent gas line freeze ups. Not only that, but if you’re ever stranded, your engine may be the only thing to keep you warm until help arrives.

Winter Emergency Preparedness

When you’re prepared for one, a winter driving emergency is manageable. Even if you properly winterize your vehicle, you can still get stuck. So here are a few tips if you get stuck in a winter storm while driving:

  • Call your WellCar Concierge Team or log into the app on your cell phone to request help.
  • Carefully place road flares around your vehicle to make you more visible to passers by and emergency help.
  • Do not leave your vehicle. Visibility is diminished in a heavy storm, so make sure you can see it at all times.
  • Keep your engine off. Turn it on long enough to stay warm, and then turn it off again to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Keep calm.

Learn how WellCar and how you can save hundreds on the health and wellness of your car. Enjoy winter and wintertime driving where you are.