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Tuesday Tip: Prepare Your Car for Winter

The following is a re-post of some previous tips. Just a reminder about preparing your car for the winter season. In cold weather, you don’t want to have to call a tow truck for a dead battery, or a breakdown when a little preemptive strike can be helpful. Taking preventive measures (such as getting insurance) can even help prevent debt. Here are some tips so that you can be prepared for winter driving.

ACCC recommends factoring the costs of when you prepare your car for winter.

ACCC recommends factoring the costs of when you prepare your car for winter.

Winter Car Tips

  • Check your Battery and Electrical System Some auto parts stores will check your electrical systems for free, and test your battery. Cold starting a car takes a lot more juice than it does in warm weather, and the cold slows down the reaction that makes electricity available to start your car. If your battery is having trouble “holding a charge” you will almost certainly have trouble starting at some point this winter. Better to replace it now.


  • Towing Insurance It’s also a good time to check and see if your auto insurance or warranty covers towing. If it does not, seriously consider buying tow insurance. You really don’t want to be stuck on the road in winter with a dead battery, frozen door lock or frozen radiator ( Yes, you can overheat in the winter due to a frozen radiator. Go figure!) Auto Towing Insurance like that included with a AAA membership can be a real help when you need it. Without it, just a single tow can put a real dent in your monthly maintenance budget, where the annual cost of insurance can be significantly less than the tow. And just one frozen door lock can cost you over $100 to have a tow operator come out and get you back into your car. It’s a good thing to keep in your automotive budget.
  • Check Your Belts and Hoses Its also a good time to check your tires, belts and hoses. Cold contracts things, and hoses or belts that are cracked, or worn can break when they get cold. Not to mention that in severe cold, worn out hoses and belts can become brittle.
  • Pack Winter Supplies It’s also a good time to be sure you have a few extra essentials in the car aside from the usual jumper cables, lug wrench, etc. Keep a small bag of sand or salt, and a small shovel just in case you get stuck in snow. I’d also recommend a pair of gloves or mittens and a hat and scarf in case you are caught without them and encounter car trouble. (There’s no real savings there, except maybe avoiding frostbite!)

You may think that you won’t get caught in bad situation, but accidents happen and cars can break down. Be prepared, and you may avoid some potential costs.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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