snowy cars in parking lot during winter

Winter isn’t so bad if you’re prepared. With the right preparation and a bit of practice driving on the fluffy stuff, you won’t be caught off guard when the holiday tunes start playing on your radio.

Get a Tune-Up

Before you brave the winter roads, take care of any minor car repair needs you have, and get a general tune-up from the auto repair team at Master Muffler. We can ensure your vehicle’s engine, brakes, and tires are ready for potentially harsh weather conditions coming at you this winter.

Check the Fluids

Is your coolant designed to withstand freezing temperatures? How about your windshield washer fluid? Make sure you have fluids with antifreeze so your car can run its best even when the temperatures plummet.

What Happens When Coolant Freezes

With its name, you may be led to believe that coolant likes the cold. While it is made for keeping your engine from overheating, coolant can actually get too cold. Since coolant is made of ethylene glycol, it does have a freezing point around -36 degrees Fahrenheit. 

To avoid freezing, coolant should be mixed with water to lower the freezing point (closer to -50 degrees F) and protect your engine. In the event your coolant isn’t prepped for winter, the radiator could freeze. A frozen radiator means you won’t see the telltale sign of an overheating engine: steam. 

Washer Fluid with Additives

There’s warm- and cold-weather windshield washer fluid, so when the seasons change, make sure you have the right mix in your vehicle. When alcohol is added to washer fluid, it lowers the freezing point so you can still get a gleaming windshield even when it’s below 32 degrees F.


  • Methanal
  • Ethanol


  • Ethylene glycol
  • Propylene glycol

Homemade Fluid

  • 8 ounces rubbing alcohol
  • 1 gallon distilled water
  • 1 T dish soap

When you’re topping off your fluid this winter, it’s also a good idea to replace your windshield wiper blades. Be sure you’re not relying on the blades to clear ice off your windshield; they’ll wear out much faster if you do. Also, as tempting as it may be, don’t pour hot water on your icy windshield. The rapid change in temperature can cause the glass to crack, and replacing it is a costly auto repair you want to avoid.

Winter Rated Motor Oil

The viscosity of motor oil is affected by fluctuations in temperatures, so check your owner’s manual to see what’s recommended for your vehicle in winter vs summer. The “W” on your motor oil stands for winter, and the lower the number the precedes it, the better the oil will flow in winter.

Prep Your Tires

Give your tires the ol’ once-over before you’re in the thick of winter driving. Check for solid treads and get an alignment from Master Muffler if you see uneven wear on them. Depending on your commute conditions, you might benefit from swapping your regular tires for snow tires or adding chains for extra grip on snowy and icy roads.

Things to Have in Your Car this Winter

Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in any trouble on the road this winter, but it’s important to be prepared just in case. Be sure you have the following in your car to keep you in tip-top shape.

Flashlight or Headlamp

If you have to carry out any roadside repairs during winter, you’ll want some light if it’s later than 4 pm. With the sun setting so early, supplemental lights will be vital to your safety and efficiency.

Flares or Reflective Triangles

Help other drivers see you by lighting and placing flares around your vehicle. For a more sustainable option, you could pack reflective triangles in your car kit instead. 

Ice Scraper

Protect your brand-new wiper blades by ensuring you have an ice scraper and snow brush in your vehicle. If you have a tall truck or SUV, you can use a broom or an ice scraper with an extension pole to help you clear your vehicle.

Kitty Litter and a Shovel

In case you ever have an unfortunate encounter with a snowbank or unrelenting patch of ice, keep kitty litter and a collapsible shovel in your trunk. The shovel, obviously, will help you dig out of snow, while the kitty litter can be put under your tires to help you find traction in slippery spots. If you don’t want to deal with the potential mess of kitty litter, you can purchase traction mats to use instead. 

Jumper Cables

Never leave home without a set of jumper cables in case your battery dies. Be sure you also have a diagram you can refer to when attaching the cables so you avoid doing so incorrectly.


Keep a spare phone charger in your vehicle, and consider investing in a battery charger for your car. If you’re stranded with a dead battery in your vehicle, you can use a handheld jump starter to get some power without having to rely on another vehicle. 

Water and Snacks

It’s always a good idea to have snacks and water in your car at all times, but when preparing a winter toolkit, make sure the snacks are non-perishable in case you forget about them for a while. In addition to storing some bottled water in your car, consider adding some “sports drinks” as well (Gatorade, Powerade) since they have a lower freezing point.


A wool blanket or a reflective rescue blanket is a must for winter driving. Not only are they convenient for when your passengers snooze in the car, but they’re essential in the event your car battery dies or you run out of gas.

Avoid needing roadside auto repair by taking the necessary precautions before pulling out of the driveway. If you have questions about how your vehicle may perform this winter, contact your local Master Muffler today.


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