10 Tips to Prepare for Old Man Winter

Posted on November 12, 2014

images of car maintenance

Old Man Winter is on his way.

Oh, how he chuckles when he causes your car serious trouble, like a flat tire from concrete broken by the cold, or frozen windows or doors from his polar winds.

Just one look in his cold eyes, and you will discover this personification of the frigid outdoors is a formidable force, and the only escape entails moving to Palm Springs — or using OnStar services. For help combatting Old Man Winter, try some of our tips and tricks below.

Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter

  1. If you live in a climate where snow and salt rule the roads each winter, get outside before the snow falls and wax your vehicle.
  2. Replace everything. Start with putting down rubber floor mats so the water doesn’t soak into the carpet, leaving your vehicle with salt stains and a stench once the thaw hits. Also, get new windshield wiper blades and refill the wiper fluid reservoir with a de-icer if you live in a cold weather state, like Wisconsin, where the sun only seems to come out when the professional football team wins.
  3. Radiator coolant is a big deal. Make sure it stays where it’s supposed to be. A leaky hose is not acceptable, ever, so make sure hoses are in good condition.
  4. Check your lights. Are they in good working order? They better be, because Old Man Winter likes to strike at night.
  5. Keep your gas tank full. If temperatures are below zero and you’re low on fuel, the fuel could freeze.
  6. Drive a vehicle equipped with OnStar 4G LTE1 and a built-in Wi-Fi® hotspot,2 because when Old Man Winter isn’t out destroying your mode of transportation, he is a big fan of streaming music and gaming online with his cousin, the Tooth Fairy.
  7. Keep winter survival provisions in the vehicle. You should always have road maps, blankets, a small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water, and a sack of sand or cat litter for traction in a snow. Keep smaller items in a duffel bag or a hard-sided storage box with a latching lid.
  8. Remember, if you are stranded in a storm, a specially trained OnStar Advisor can pinpoint your exact location using GPS technology. The Advisor also can help connect you with family or friends.
  9. Put the OnStar phone number (1.888.4ONSTAR) in your cell phone and place the phone number sticker in your car window. That way, you’ll always be prepared if you should need assistance when you’re not inside your car. If you need a window sticker, just press the blue OnStar button or visit onstar.com to request one.
  10. If you’re stranded in your car or truck, use Roadside Assistance3 and ask an OnStar Advisor to get help to your location. Follow these additional pointers until OnStar is able to get help to you:
    • Stay in your vehicle. Disorientation can occur quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
    • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat. Open the window for a little fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
    • Make yourself visible to rescuers: Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine, tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door, raise the hood to indicate trouble after snow stops falling.
    • Vigorously move around your arms, legs, fingers and toes from time to time to keep blood circulating and help keep warm.
    • Avoid overexertion such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor can cause a heart attack, and sweating can lead to a chill and hypothermia, which occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it.
Survival Gear for Winter Travel