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Winter Vehicle Prep for College Students: Your Complete Guide

College Student Winter Car Prep - Expert Tips | Iowa City Tire and Service. Young woman smiling driving black car.

As the temperature starts to dip in Iowa, preparing your college student’s vehicle for the impending winter is not just a preventative measure—it’s a responsibility. At Iowa City Tire and Service, we understand the importance of ensuring your child’s vehicle is equipped to handle the harsh winter months. Here’s our expert guide to get your student’s car winter-ready.

1. Battery Check-Up

Winter’s cold temperatures can be brutal on a car’s battery.

The last thing you want is for your student to be stranded with a dead battery. Have the battery and charging system professionally tested to ensure they are in optimal condition. If the battery is more than three years old, it might be time for a replacement.

2. Tire Inspection and Rotation

Tires are critical for safety on icy roads. Check the tire tread depth; 4/32” or more is recommended for winter driving. Consider investing in winter tires for improved traction. Don’t forget to check the tire pressure regularly, as it decreases in cold weather.

3. Fluids Top-Off

Ensure all fluids are at the appropriate levels. This includes antifreeze, which prevents the engine from freezing, and windshield wiper fluid with a lower freezing point to improve visibility during snowfall.

4. Wiper Blades Replacement

Worn wiper blades can compromise visibility during winter storms. Replace them with heavy-duty winter blades that can handle snow and ice buildup.

5. Brake System Check

The brake system is your car’s most important safety feature, especially on icy roads. Have a certified technician at Iowa City Tire and Service inspect the brakes for wear and ensure there is enough brake fluid.

6. Emergency Kit Update

Pack an emergency kit with items like blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, snacks, water, and a first-aid kit. This can be a lifesaver if your student gets stuck in bad weather.

7. Oil and Filter Change

Cold weather can thicken your engine oil, making it harder for your engine to turn over. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on oil viscosity for colder temperatures.

8. Exhaust System Check

Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during the winter when windows are closed.

9. Heater and Defroster Evaluation

Ensure the heater and defroster are working properly for comfort and driver visibility.

10. Professional Winter Inspection

For peace of mind, bring the vehicle to Iowa City Tire and Service for a comprehensive winter inspection. Our technicians can address any potential issues before they become major problems.


By following this guide, you can help ensure that your college student’s vehicle is prepared for whatever the Iowa winter throws its way. At Iowa City Tire and Service, we’re committed to providing the high-quality service needed to keep your family safe on the road. For more information, call us at (319) 338-5401 or visit us at 410 Kirkwood Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240. Our full range of services is available online at http://www.ictire.com. Stay safe, and stay warm this winter!


When it comes to finding the best auto repair and maintenance services at the best price, Iowa City Tire & Service is a sure pick. We have an unwavering commitment to customer service and pride ourselves on going above and beyond!

We invite you to check us out. Stop by our shop at 410 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City, IA. You can also call us at (319) 338-5401 for inquiries or appointments.