You may be familiar with the concept of "winterizing" your home, but don't neglect to winterize your car, too -- it will thank you, with better and longer performance. Here's a brief list of some of the many things you might do:

  • Make plans to get snow tires if you live where fluffy white stuff occasionally falls from the sky.

  • Take your car in for scheduled maintenance work. Make sure your brakes are in good working order and that your battery isn't pooped. Consider replacing spark plugs, which can improve your car's reliability.

  • Ensure that you have enough clean coolant and that it's not leaking. In fact, make sure you have enough of every fluid in your car and that no fluids need replacing. Replace your regular washer fluid with winter-friendly washer fluid that's designed to not freeze. Consider keeping an extra container of it in your trunk.

  • Check that your tires have plenty of tread and are inflated properly.

  • Try to keep your gas tank far from empty at all times -- ideally, half full or more. This can prevent your gas lines from freezing due to condensation.

  • Keep a can of de-icer on hand for when your locks freeze. Don't keep it in the car, because... well, you know. What you should keep in the car is an emergency kit -- some flares, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and a blanket or two.

  • When cleaning snow and ice off your vehicle, be thorough. Snow left on top of your car might slide down your windshield, obstructing your view. Or it might blow onto a passing car, obstructing that driver's view. In fact, try to always remove all snow from your vehicle, since it might contain salt from the street that can corrode your car's body.

For more automotive advice, head over to our Buying and Maintaining a Car discussion board. (We're offering a free trial of our discussion board community now.) For more car-winterizing advice, read this article and this one.