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7 Tips for Winterizing Your Vehicle

Trying to get your car, truck, or SUV ready for the cold, snowy days ahead? While Indiana winters can be beautiful, they can also cause drivers to worry about their vehicles on the road. But with some preparation and preventative maintenance, you can make sure you’re ready to safely hit the road all winter long.

Here are seven tips for winterizing your vehicle:

1. Inspect your tires.

When your tires are in great shape, you can drive safely and get the traction you need to brake and accelerate in the snow and road salt. If your wheels are flat, cracked, or discolored, it’s time to replace them. 

To check your tire’s tread, just grab a penny and put it into a groove between the treads, with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you see most or all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread is low — which means less traction in winter conditions. If this is the case for about 10 areas on all of your tires, it’s time to replace them for better traction.

You’ll also want to check your tire pressure often once the weather starts getting colder. That’s because every 10-degree drop in external temperature can lead to a one-pound loss in your tires’ air pressure. A sticker on your car’s door jam (as well as information in the owner’s manual) will give you the recommended air pressure your tires should have. When you keep your tires properly inflated and check for pressure drops, you’ll be much less likely to have a flat tire or get into an accident on a slippery road.

2. Get to know the owner’s manual.

Your car’s manual is an excellent way to become more familiar with your vehicle and how it works. It can tell you how much to inflate your tires, what your engine’s oil weight should be, when to flush your engine’s system, what type of coolant to use, how to activate 4-wheel drive (4WD), and more. 

Because you probably haven’t used 4WD in about a year (since last winter), it’s a smart idea to check the owner’s manual to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. For example, some vehicles need to be in park before you activate 4WD, while others should be in neutral. Your manual will explain exactly what you should do, which will help you prevent misuse or expensive damage to the system.

3. Check your cooling and heating systems.

Taking care of your car’s cooling system starts with the right antifreeze, or coolant. This liquid absorbs engine heat and disperses that heat throughout your car’s radiator. It cools the engine to prevent overheating and damage, especially in the winter and summer, when your vehicle has to work harder to regulate its overall temperature. You’ll want to drain your cooling system and add new antifreeze at least once a year, before temperatures drop below freezing.

Your owner’s manual (or your local dealer) can tell you which coolant is best for your vehicle, as well as how much the engine needs. Most types are sold premixed with a 50/50 dilution of antifreeze to water. If that’s not the case for your coolant, you’ll have to mix and dilute it yourself with distilled water. With the right mixture in your radiator, you’ll prevent the liquid from freezing and keep your car running smoothly.

Another tip: Test your heater and defroster by turning them on and off before it gets too cold outside. You’ll want to make sure your heating system works when you need it most!

4. Schedule some general maintenance.

Besides checking your cooling and heating systems, you’ll want to take care of some other preventative maintenance before winter sets in. Whether you’re a DIY-er, or you’d rather bring your car into the shop, this will allow you to get your vehicle in the best possible condition for winter. You’ll have peace of mind while dashing through the snow that your car can handle the cold and help you (and any passengers) stay safe.

Here are a few preventative maintenance tasks for winterizing your vehicle:

  • Replace windshield wipers and fluid.
  • Check brake pads and fluid.
  • Test your car battery.
  • Clean and restore headlights.
  • Check and change the oil.
  • Inspect exhaust system.
  • Check belts and hoses.

5. Be prepared for emergencies.

To fully prepare for anything winter throws at you and your vehicle, you’ll want to pack an emergency kit. This will come in handy if you get stuck in a snowbank, have to make an emergency repair, or are in a long line of traffic on the highway and unsure when you can keep moving. Whether you buy a pre-assembled kit or put something together yourself, here’s what your emergency kit should include:

  • Blankets
  • An ice scraper
  • Non-perishable food
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • A flashlight
  • Batteries
  • A first-aid kit
  • A tool kit
  • Extra clothes
  • Kitty litter, salt, or rocks (for tire traction)
  • Extra parts (belts, hoses, etc.)
  • Extra coolant
  • Extra windshield wiper fluid
  • A spare tire

It’s also a great idea to keep your gas tank at least half full in the winter (and really any time of year). This will prevent moisture in the car’s gas line from freezing and make it easier to start your vehicle in the cold. Plus, you won’t have to worry about running out of gas!

6. Get a remote start.

When you’re winterizing your vehicle this year, consider a remote start to make your life easier. Leaving your warm bed on a cold winter morning is never fun, but a pre-warmed interior can make your commute a bit less chilly. 

With a remote start, you can also start your car from inside the house to warm up the engine before driving. This gives the oil time to become thicker and lubricate the motor, making your engine run better now and in the long term.

Plus, a remote start lets you scrape your car quickly, as you’ll defrost most of the snow and ice from your windows, headlights, and brake lights before even setting foot outside. This will help you drive more safely, as your visibility won’t be impaired by snow falling from the windows or clouding your lights.

7. Wash and rustproof your car.

Right before winter is the perfect time to clean your car and keep it corrosion-free! Getting a professional interior detail will make your vehicle’s carpets sparkling clean again by removing stains and damage from salt, melting ice, and other debris. And before the temperatures dip too low, you can wash your car by following these easy steps:

  • Rinse your vehicle from top to bottom.
  • Wash your car with gentle soap, focusing on the wheel wells and undercarriage.
  • Dry the locks and door, window, and trunk edges to prevent freezing.

Once you’ve thoroughly washed your car, consider a rustproofing service for winterizing your vehicle. This involves spraying a drip-free protective wax on the areas of your car’s exterior that are likely to corrode (rust) from melting snow — especially the fenders, hood, and undercarriage. Rustproofing will help you protect your car from ice and road salt, avoid costly repairs and safety hazards, and keep your vehicle looking like new all winter long.

By following these tips for winterizing your vehicle, you’ll be well on your way to driving safely no matter what winter brings!

If you’re interested in getting a remote start, hand wash, and/or rustproofing service for your car, an auto detailing expert can help you find what you need to drive in comfort, safety, and style this winter.

a Premier customer amazed with his car care service

Premier’s mission is to create happiness through professional detailing, and our purpose is to exhibit a philosophy of servanthood! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or visit our website. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well!

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That's why, at Premier, you’ll get more than just exceptional service for your car.

You’ll drive away happy knowing you’re also valued and a huge part of supporting and celebrating others.

If you’re ready to restore, protect, or style your car—book an auto detailing service in Lafayette, Indiana or Kokomo, Indiana. Our professionally trained staff (and satisfaction guarantee) promise that you’ll be impressed with our attention to detail and blown away with the final results.

* There will be an additional charge of $50 for Iron Decontamination. If your vehicle has tar, overspray, or road paint on it, we will provide a custom quote for removal.

* Removing stains is an intricate service, and while we always try to do everything possible to remove stains, we cannot guarantee full stain removal. In the event a stain cannot be fully removed, we will try to attenuate it as much as possible.

* Headliners are extremely delicate. Excessive cleaning and wetting of the headliner can cause it to fail, so excessive soiling may not be able to be removed.


Ceramic Wash, Clay, and Seal

* These prices are based on a vehicle in average condition. For a more accurate quote, pictures or a detailer’s estimate may be needed to see if your vehicle qualifies for this price.


Full Detail

* These prices are based on a vehicle in average condition. For a more accurate quote, pictures or a detailer’s estimate may be needed to see if your vehicle qualifies for this price.


Interior Detail

* These prices are based on a vehicle in average condition. For a more accurate quote, pictures or a detailer’s estimate may be needed to see if your vehicle qualifies for this price.

*The paint polish is not intended to remove any deep paint defects. It is only intended to enhance gloss and deep clean the paint in preparation for the coating application. Additional paint correction services can be quoted at an additional charge.

Because we value you and your vehicle as much as you do, we recommend following a maintenance protocol after the initial curing time of your ceramic coatings application.

This maintenance plan will keep your warranty intact and allow you to enjoy a smooth, glass-like finish for years to come.

A professional hand wash—with a specialized ceramic coatings approved cleaning agent—is recommended every week to every other week. As a ceramic coatings VIP, you'll receive a $20 discount on all hand washes.

Pricing: Call for Details

Why is ceramic coating the most elite paint protection product on the market?

Premier ceramic coating offers nano-ceramic compounds that provide the maximum level of slickness, protection, and durability.

A normal clear coat has hardness between 2H and 4H. However, ceramic coatings have a hardness above 9H. This shield is the hardest paint coating on the market today and prevents minor scratches to your clearcoat and acts as a sacrificial layer.

Think of ceramic coatings as an additional clear coat layer, only a lot harder. All of this allows for more peace of mind and a fuller enjoyment of your vehicle, even in harsh environments.

Surface Scratches

UV Protection


No-Bond Surface


Permanent Protection

* We protect all plastics, vinyl, leather, Alcantara, carpet, and upholstery to help repel dirt, dust, and stains. We do not coat interior glass as it will cause fogging issues.

* A new tint can be applied to driver and passenger windows to match other factory-tinted windows on SUVs and trucks.