Whether you love winter or hate it, the cold, snow and freezing temperatures can be a challenge for drivers and their vehicles. Keeping your car well cared for during the winter months is key.

Here are 7 tips to keep your car running at its best when the weather outside is frightful:

#1 Winter tires

It has been said that “all season tires” should really be named “3 season tires.” If you live in an area where the temperature regularly drops below 7 degrees C, then getting winter tires is highly recommended.

Winter tires stay softer than all seasons when the weather turns cold, and this means they have better traction – regardless of whether there is snow or ice on the road.

#2 Tire pressure

While we’re on the subject of tires, here is a quick word on tire pressure. Be sure to check your tire pressure at least once a month. Having the proper tire pressure is not only important to your fuel efficiency, but when tires are underinflated, it can cause the handling of your vehicle to become unpredictable.

As the outside temperature drops, so too can your tire pressure. If you find the pressure is low when checked, fill them up at the nearest gas station air pump.

#3 Lights

As the days get shorter, the need for visibility on the roads is paramount. When winter rolls around it is a good opportunity to check your car’s lights. Replace any bulbs that have gone out and if your headlights have become foggy, either replace them or purchase a restoration kit.

#4 Battery

A dead battery is an inconvenience even in the best of weather, but when it is cold and nasty outside, it can be downright painful. Since it is easier for a battery to operate in the warmer weather, a battery that performed weakly during the summer months may not work at all in the cold.

Have a volt test performed on your battery to determine whether or not it needs to be replaced.

#5 Coolant

Coolant (or antifreeze) is essential for ensuring that your engine doesn’t freeze just because the outside weather does. Before you get too far into the winter months, make sure that your vehicle has plenty of coolant. It is also a good idea to have your car’s engine checked for any leaks where the coolant might drain out.

#6 Washer fluid

Winter can be an especially messy time of year on the roads. So to wipe away the slush that will inevitably get sprayed on your windshield this season, be sure that you always have a full windshield-washer reservoir. And remember to buy the winter kind!

#7 Defroster and climate control

Both your front and rear windshield defroster and climate control are essential for safety and comfort in winter driving. But you don’t want to wait until you need them to know that they work! Make sure these are working properly, and if not schedule an appointment with your mechanic to have them fixed.

Keeping your vehicle well maintained is important any time of year, but winter brings its own unique challenges. Be sure to follow these tips for safe and happy winter driving!