Thurston Car Talk: Should I Have My Car “Winterized?”


Submitted by Bron of Brons Automotive

This was a common procedure in the old days.  Mechanics routinely performed such services as adjusting the coolant mixture, performing a tune-up, checking the battery, changing the thermostat from a summer temperature of 160 degrees F to a hotter winter temperature of 180 degrees F, etc.

While many of these items are not done as often on modern engines, there are still some things to think about.  For instance, batteries commonly fail with the onset of extremely hot or extremely cold weather.  A vehicle that fails to start in the summer is just as problematic as one that will not start in the winter.  Coolant now lasts from 2 to 3 years, depending on the type.  Thermostats are sometimes hard to access and besides, modern engines run better, last longer, and get better fuel mileage with the factory thermostat installed, (typically running at 195 degrees F.)

The following is a list of items that should be checked all the time, but especially as winter weather comes on:

  1.  Tire condition and pressure is always important, but worn tires will be especially dangerous when it starts raining hard.
  2. I personally tend to forget about my windshield wipers and washers during the summer months until the first rain of the season during nighttime driving.
  3. Lights.  We spend more time driving in the dark in winter than in the summer.
  4. Battery condition.  Batteries typically last from 4 to 8 years.  A good battery tester will detect one that is just beginning to get weak and go into failure mode, before it results in a no start condition.
  5. Defroster operation.

The best practice is to always know that these items are in good operating condition.  You always want to be sure that your fluid levels are correct, belts and hoses are OK, brake condition adequate, etc. Any good shop these days will always check all systems on your vehicle every time your vehicle is in for a repair or service.

Anything you always wanted to ask a mechanic?  Send e mail to

About The Author:

Bron Lindgren has been an Olympia resident since 1975.   He has been working on vehicles as a technician since the late 1970’s, and started his own shop, Bron’s Automotive in 2002.  Bron hires only ASE certified technicians, is an AAA approved auto repair shop, and provides shuttle service as well as a 2 year/24,000 warranty. Bron is a member of the West Olympia Rotary, the Automotive Service Association, Thurston County Chamber, and a board member of the Community Mental Health Foundation, BHR’S fundraising arm

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