Winter car care & driving tips

The past few winters have come earlier and earlier, at least here in Michigan, even thought this winter it’s taking its time. Either way, winters in Michigan mean keeping your gloved hand on the wheel and keeping some winter driving tips in mind.

Mother Proof recommends keeping an eye on the side of the road for “phantom shoulders”: “Snowplows can create a deceiving shoulder made of snow that’s level with the road surface. Going off would mean sinking into the snow.”

Leave it to Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers of NPR’s Car Talk, to have some fun with a block heater, a device that keeps your engine warm all night long: “If you do get a block heater, try to remember not to drive off with your car still plugged into your house.”

Dumb Little Man advises keeping a roadside emergency kit, “including a flashlight with fresh batteries, a blanket, food bars, water bottles, cell phone, jumper cables, flares, Fix-a-Flat, HELP Sign, and a first aid kit.” An extra pair of gloves and a hat to cover your head wouldn’t hurt either.

As MSN Autos suggests, your tires can be key in winter driving conditions. Make sure to check for the appropriate tire pressure and tread depth:

Tread depth is critical to controlling a car at all times, especially in snow or heavy rain. A simple way to check tread depth requires only a penny. Insert a penny in between the tread blocks of your car’s tire, making sure Abe Lincoln’s head goes in first and is facing toward you; once the penny touches the bottom of the groove, note if you can see the top of Abe’s head with the tire’s surface at eye level. If the tread doesn’t reach the top of Abe’s head, too much has been worn off and the tire definitely needs to be replaced.

And then there are the fluids, says brake fluid, oil grade, antifreeze, and be sure to have plenty of gas in your tank. They also suggest checking your battery’s strength in cold weather starting conditions.

You can browse for the best cold weather car options over at As for the best winter-ready vehicle on the road? What’s your experience? Let us know what car or truck makes the best-driving, winter-ready vehicle in the comments.

Don’t forget about our upcoming Winter Weather Vehicle Sale, offering many vehicles to prepare you for cold-weather driving.

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