Unlike the unlucky residents of Westeros, we don't have to prepare for a winter season that could last for years at a stretch, but that doesn't mean we don't still go through preparations, including swapping out the summer wardrobe in favor of warmer fare and replacing screens around the house with storm windows. When it comes to the car that will see you through tough winter weather, you need to take steps to ensure it doesn't succumb to freezing temperatures and icy roads.
In addition to adding essentials like chains to the gear in your trunk, you'll want to make sure your car is prepped with proper fluids and needed winter upgrades. Here are a few ways to prepare your car to handle the hazards of winter weather.
Tend to Your Tires
When roads are icy, the last thing you want is threadbare tires unable to get a grip. If your car is already outfitted with all-weather radials, you're probably good to go in snowy conditions, but if your area experiences extreme cold and icy conditions, consider swapping to winter tires that are less likely to harden and lose grip, or studded snow tires that offer considerably more traction on icy roads. If you go through icy passes infrequently, chains may be a better option for occasional use. Be sure to check air pressure frequently during the winter, since cold temps can cause pressure to drop.
Switch to Winter Fluids
It's always wise to kick off summer and winter with a service to ensure that your car is ready to meet the demands of seasonal travel. A good once-over by your trusted mechanic will include checking essential components, such as the battery, brakes, belts, spark plugs, and so on. This, however is also a great time to top off fluids, replace oil (if you haven't in a while), and update to washer fluid that contains antifreeze.
Update Windshield Wipers
If you live in a region that experiences a significant amount of rain or snow, or both, your wiper blades can wear out faster than you think, leaving you blind when you need visibility the most. If you want the best opportunity to see in stormy conditions, it's wise to install new wiper blades at least annually, before inclement weather strikes. You may be able to install them on your own for about $30-50, or your mechanic can install them for you at a slightly higher cost.
Flesh Out Your Emergency Kit
There are a few things you should add to your emergency kit, just in case you get stuck in dangerous winter weather. Your winter kit should include warm clothing and possibly subzero sleeping bag, depending on how far from town (and cell service) you might be. You'll also want packs of hand warmers to protect your extremities. Don't forget to throw in a shovel, a sandbag, and a couple of wood planks, in case you get mired in deep snow.
With the right preparations, including a seasonal service inspection, proper tires, winter fluids, new wiper blades, and an updated emergency kit, your car should be in ship shape to face frigid temps and stormy weather.