Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter


All-season tires are fine to use year-round. However, winter or snow tires provide better performance on icy and snowy roads. If possible, switch all four tires to snow tires before winter begins.

Studded tires, which have metal studs embedded in the tread, provide extra traction on icy roads. However, because the tires dig into the road, they can wear down and damage roadways. Check your state’s laws on the use of studded tires; there may be a limited time frame when they can be used.

Tire chains, or snow chains, are fitted over tires to provide maximum traction on snowy and icy roads. Again, check your state’s laws on the use of tire chains. While tire chains are effective on snowy/icy roads, they are not recommended for use on dry roads.


A car battery typically lasts four to six years, depending on weather, how often the car is driven, and other factors. Batteries function best at moderate temperatures, and older batteries are more likely to die in extreme cold. If you have an older battery, get it tested at an auto care shop before winter begins.

Maintenance Checklist

Winter conditions impact vehicle performance, so it’s important to make sure your car is in good condition as winter approaches. Be sure to check the following:

  • Antifreeze
  • Battery
  • Brake fluid
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Emergency flashers
  • Exhaust
  • Fuel
  • Heater
  • Ignition
  • Oil
  • Radiator
  • Tires (air pressure and wear)
  • Windshield wiper fluid (wintertime mixture)
AAA – Preparing an Emergency Supply Kit]
Oregon DOT – How to Install Cable Tire Chains
Oregon DOT – Winter Car Care Tips