You'll experience superior handling by installing a quality set of winter tires.

5 ways to get your car ready before winter arrives

Ready or not, here comes the cold weather. Yep, the coldest period of the season is just around the corner, and as you might imagine, things are going to get cold.

So long as you dress in layers, have a heavy coat, and a keep a warm hat handy, Mother Nature is nothing to worry about. But what may be cause for concern is how your car will get through it all. If your car is not prepared for the cold weather, you could be in for a long winter season.

With the proper preparation, though, Old Man Winter won’t put the freeze on your commute. The following are some of the things you should do now so that your vehicle is winter-ready.

Have your battery charged

Coffee may be your fuel source on a cold winter morning, but for your car, it gets its energy from the battery. Under freezing conditions, though, the battery may not work as effectively due to the cold temperatures. Have your battery and charging system checked so that you know it’s good to go when the temperature plunges. If you’ve had your battery for three years or more, it may be time to have it replaced.

Check the antifreeze

Coolant is what regulates your engine’s temperature, preventing it from overheating during the summer and from freezing in the winter. Make sure that the reservoir is filled. If you haven’t had it flushed out in awhile – two years or more – consider removing what’s there now and replacing it with a fresh dose.

Change the oil

Motor oil has really improved over the years, as cars don’t need to be maintained quite as much as they used to thanks to motor oil’s durability. However, it still needs to be replaced every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. If you’re nearing that point, you may want to have it changed now so you don’t have to worry about it as temperatures dip to uncomfortable lows.

Keep gas tank full

It’s always a good idea to have a full tank of gas, but it’s particularly important during the winter because there’s the chance that it could freeze if the level is low, as more moisture forms the less fuel there is. Aim to keep your tank’s fuel supply from falling below the halfway point throughout the season.

Install winter tires

If you’ve never driven on winter tires before, make this year the time you do it. Winter tires are made to withstand winter conditions like ice or snow. Plus, they have greater traction, reducing the risk of an accident when conditions are slippery.

For more information on how to properly winterize your vehicle, check out more of Elephant’s Winter Driving guides and videos.