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Winterize your car yourself and save $200

Instead of paying a couple hundred dollars for a shop to “winterize” your car, how about doing it yourself?  Its easier than you think…

Engine Coolant

Your car’s coolant system isn’t just to keep your car from overheating, it’s also to keep corrosion away.  Obviously in the winter, you also can’t have the cooling system freezing. For winter, you want a mix of about 50% ethylene glycol, 50% water depending on your climate.  Here in Colorado we are fairly average so most people run 50/50 all year long.  The colder your climate, the more glycol you want in the mix because it has a much lower freezing temperature than water.  Check your owner’s manual for what kind of coolant you need.  If you are in a climate such as colorado chances are you probably don’t have to do much more than make sure your radiator and reservoir are filled with the correct mix.

Engine Oil

The oil in your engine changes depending the tempertature of your engine as it runs. This is almost directly purportional to the temperature outsite, minus a few factors.  What does this mean? It means depending on the climate, you will have to run different kinds of oils.

Once again a moderate climate like Colorado means you probably don’t have to change your oil type for the winter.  The most common oil is 10w-30 and a slightly thinner (better for winter since it is thinner, making it less likely to ‘muck’ up the engine if temperatures get really cold).  The truth is unless you live in an extreme climate, 10w-30 can get you through year round.  Always check your owners manual to make sure your car doesn’t take something exotic 🙂

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Fill it.  To the Top.

Windhsield Wiper blades

If they are showing any signs of wear, replace them.  I usually dont spring for more expensive winter blades, the truth is that the best blade is the one that doesnt leave spots or smudges.


The biggest thing to check for is corrosion.  Does it seems like “gunk” has built up around your battery cables?  Time to disconnect the battery and clean it off.  Cold weather is hard on batteries and if it has been a long time since you have replaced your battery it is a good idea to get a new one.


Check for worn tires.  Snow and ice can be dangerous so it is important to make sure your tires have a good amount of tread left.  You can spring for winter tires, but I believe a good set of all season radials is better investment as they will also work well in winter…and you can keep them for summer.

As you can tell, winterizing your car is not that difficult.  The idea is to make sure things are working properly before it gets nasty outside.  Working on a car on a nice fall day is 100X better than working on a car in a snowbank so dont tempt fate!

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