Dear Donna:

Since our father passed away unexpectedly last spring, my brother and I have been trying to fill in and complete the chores and tasks our dad always handled. Because Mom lives in Michigan, we know it’s important to make sure her car is in good shape before the winter winds blow. I will be visiting her next week and I’d like to be able to cross that item off my list of things to do.

That catch is… I live in sunny southern Florida where we don’t need to worry about winterizing the car.

Do you have any tips I can use? I would appreciate any advice!



How to Prepare a Senior’s Car for Winter in Michigan

Dear Georgia:

You are right! Michigan winters can indeed be tough on vehicles. And it is important to take time to get your Mom’s car ready.

I spent a little time researching some of our favorite senior resources and found a few tips you might find helpful:

  1. Schedule a Check Up: Helping your mother winterize her car should start with scheduling an appointment for an oil change and tune-up. You might want to can set that up before you head north so you can be sure the repair shot can fit you in. Ask the mechanic to make sure he tops off her fluids (including anti-freeze), examines the condition of her wiper blades and replaces the air filter if it needs it. Also request that he check the tread on the tires. Worn out tires need to be replaced before your mom hits the road on a snowy day.
  2. Stock Up on Lock De-Icer: If you’ve spent any time in the Great Lake state during the winter months, you may have experienced frozen door locks. You head in to the grocery store to pick up a few things and when you come out, the locks on the car are frozen and you can’t open the door. While you are with your mom, buy a few cans of de-ice. Encourage her to keep one with her all the time whether it is in a coat pocket or her purse. This will help her avoid being stuck without transportation when she is away from home.
  3. Pack Emergency Supplies: Create two “winter emergency kits” for your mom during your visit. One will stay in a closet at her house, and the other will be stored in the back seat of her car. Include water, non-perishable food items, blankets and warm clothing, a flashlight with extra batteries and even a stash of her medication in a locked container. An extra cell phone battery is also helpful to have. In the event your mom is stranded in her home or car, she will have enough supplies to last until help arrives.
  4. On-Going Vehicle Winter Safety: There are a few other items your mom will need to monitor throughout the winter to make sure her vehicle stays in good shape. One is to check the tire pressure anytime the weather changes significantly. Another is to keep her windshield wiper fluid topped off. If your mom needs help doing this when you aren’t around, see if there is a friendly neighbor who might help out. If not, speak with the mechanic to see if he can handle these tasks for her during the winter months.


I hope these tips are helpful, Georgia! Safe travels back home to see your mom.

Kind Regards,