How to maintain your car during winter in 10 easy & affordable steps

Prepare your car for winter

Winter is fast approaching and it’s a time of year that all drivers dread. Plummeting temperatures and countless umbrella days mean the number of breakdowns can more than double throughout winter months. Eek!

Have no fear, you can prepare your car for winter in a few simple steps that don’t break the bank, either.

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1. Take your car for a free or discounted servicecar for winter cold

Admit it, you’ve definitely put off a car service or two. We’re all busy, but if your car is due for a service, the worst thing you can do is avoid it.

Instead, look out for any free or discounted ‘winter car checks’ offers that lots of chain and independent garages in your area will start promoting this time of year. Take advantage of these!

The AA reports that up to half of car problems in winter could have been prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks. So it definitely pays to check your car before the cold hits.

2. Look for cracks & fix them now

Make sure there are no little cracks in your windows or lights on the car. Although they may be small now, if a crack freezes then water can freeze in them and get into your lights or make the crack even worse.

3. Check your screenwash in your car for winter

Cheap screenwash is great, but will it last you through winter? Make sure your screen wash is suitable for temperatures up to 10 degrees. Sometimes screenwash cannot handle cold temperatures and can freeze in the engine.

Try this screenwash which is suitable for 10 degrees.

If you discover yours isn’t suitable, just run the screenwash out and top up again with the correct screenwash before the cold weather hits.

4. Top up on antifreeze in your car for winter

Car for winter deicer

As well as topping up on large bottles of Poundland anti-freeze to keep in your boot, did you know your engine coolant should a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze?

Lots of people (myself included) top up water during the year so the antifreeze gets dulled and diluted, and then freezes during very cold weather. This can lead to your engine overheating and a very large bill!

Prevent this by filling up your engine coolant with antifreeze as you go so it’s ready for your car for winter. Here is my favourite antifreeze

5. Rubbing alcohol to the rescue for your car for winter

You’ve woken up, you’re in a rush and what’s that? Frost all over the windows! Have no fear, rubbing alcohol is here.

Keep a little spray bottle in your car to help remove any frost on cold winter mornings. To find out more, visit Anushka’s 23 practical uses for rubbing alcohol.

*Air con also demists your windscreen faster than normal heaters. 

6. Use the 20p method to check your tyres

car for winter 20p

This is such a useful tip! Place a 20p coin in a ridge between the tread on your tyres and look at it from a level angle. If you can see most of the outer ring of the coin your tread is too worn down.

If it covers most of the outer ring you should have enough tread left to last through the winter months. Check 3 different areas of each tyre just to make sure your tyres are ready for winter.

Travelling with kids this winter? Check out 17 clever tips for travelling in the car with kids.

7. Prevent car battery corrosion with Vaseline

Is there anything Vaseline can’t do? This time your trusty pot of petroleum jelly can help save you money in repairs and battery replacement.

Find out more at For more uses, please see 31 astonishing things to do with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. It’s eye-opening!

8. Melt away your frozen car lock

car for winter frozen lock

If your lock starts to freeze up (if you still have a key to open your car) a cigarette or kitchen lighter can melt the ice in it without damaging anything. Free and 100% safe!

9. Invest in a foil windscreen cover

Avoid your screen freezing up in the morning by purchasing a cheap windscreen cover. You can grab these in cheap discount bins in places like Aldi or Lidl, or purchase them online like this one off Amazon. It keeps your screen clean and protected during winter.

For amazing tips on how to keep your car clean and organised, check out Colleen’s 21 smart tips on how to keep your car clean.

10. Run your engine outside for a few minutes every morning

Brrr! If it’s very cold you should run your engine for a few minutes before setting off, as driving off when the engine is that cold can damage your engine. Make sure you pull your car out of your garage before doing this, safety first.

So there you have it, no excuses! Make sure you take car of your car this winter. Do you have any tips of your own? Share them below. 





I'm a professional penny pincher who is obsessed with eBay and Pinterest. Always on the look out for multiple uses for favourite household items and a good bargain, of course!

  1. 1 Ann White Reply

    Even if you may know these things they are still good advise. Also if it’s snowy or frost or freeing leave much more time to get anywhere, this could save your life by taking care, and stay calm.

  2. 3 Nick Cox Reply

    Be careful if you do leave your car running on your drive in the morning warming up. If someone notices and it is stolen you may not be covered by your insurance- as leaving it with the doors open, the keys in the ignition and the engine running will be classed as not making enough effort to keep your vehicle secure!

    1. 4 Collette J Reply

      Thanks Nick, that’s a very helpful tip! I sit in my car while it’s warming up but some people do leave their cars unattended so it’s a great point, thanks for sharing 🙂

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