How To Get Your College Car Ready for Winter

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

The leaves have changed their colors and are beginning to litter lawns and streets across the Midwest. While it is pretty and relaxing, soon it is going to be cold and stressful. Before you know it you will go out to your car one morning to see that the windshield is covered in frost.

Winter is coming, as much as we really don't want to accept it. Now is the time to get your car ready so you aren't left in your driveway one morning cursing because you're running late. Here is a short list of things you should do to your college car before the first snowfall.

Break out the touch-up paint. Saltwater is the number one enemy of cars that have any sort of steel. All that nasty gray slush will cause your car to rust at an alarming rate. If you have a rust-free ride, go around the car and check for any scratches or chips that are leaving bare metal exposed. If you don't, those spots could be turning a nasty red come springtime. 

Check your tire tread. Pretty soon you're going to be wishing you had better tires. By then, you'll probably be sliding downhill into an accountant's Mercedes-Benz. Before it gets so cold you don't want to go outside anymore, grab a penny and see what your tire tread looks like. When you insert the penny in the tread upside-down see if Lincoln's forehead is visible. If it is, get some new tires. You can even go the extra mile and invest in some snow tires, but just remember you won't want those on your car anymore come April. 

Stash some gloves. A car can take a few minutes to warm up on a really cold day. By then the steering wheel will probably still be frigid. Do yourself a favor now and buy some nice suede gloves now while they're pointless and cheap and stash them in your glove box. 

Stock up on de-icing washer fluid. You're going to be using that fluid a whole lot more soon. Snow, salt and ice will all need to be washed away so you can see and continue to drive safely. Why not have a spare jug back in the trunk for when things get real bad? 

Find your window scraper. Chances are you still have the same window scraper you had last year, it's just buried under a layer of empty cups and empty Cheetos bags. It'd be best to find it now before it gets to crunch time. 

Test your heater. It probably still works, but now is the time to find out if it doesn't. That way you can get it fixed before you are desperate for a de-frosting. 

Get an oil change. You have been procrastinating on this. I just know it. Well, since you're getting one now, you might as well get lower viscosity oil in your engine (5W instead of 10W). This will help reduce engine wear when temperatures remain below freezing for a few months.

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