Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Preparing your vehicle for winter driving

Reliable transportation is especially important in the winter. Not only should you keep your vehicle in top operating condition all year round - for safety and fuel economy, it is especially important to get it winterized to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous situation while traveling in frigid weather. Check the following:

  • Ignition system
  • Fuel system
  • Belts
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Snow tires
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Defroster
  • Proper grade oil
  • Cooling system
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Antifreeze

Always fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even for a short distance, and stop to fill-up long before the tank begins to run low. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.

A cell phone can be very useful to you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.

  • Clear all windows and lights of frost and snow.
  • Drive with your headlights on.
  • Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment: A scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction.
  • Also include road flares, a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight with batteries.
  • Remember to reverse the batteries in the case to avoid accidental switching, and burnout. Warm the batteries between your legs before using them.

Keep an emergency survival kit in the car. You can pack the items into a three pound coffee can.

Questions about the content of this page:
Office of Public Affairs, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: January 31, 2013

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