Consider added safety features
A winter beater doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles, but certain extras can be a huge help for safe winter driving.
"Most modern vehicles have antilock brakes as standard equipment, and many have traction and stability control as well," says Brauer. "These items will enhance vehicle safety in bad-weather driving and are worth paying a little extra for." Expect to pay at least several hundred dollars extra for these added features.
The bottom line: A winter beater doesn't need to be pretty or fast, but it does need to be safe, reliable and able to withstand the elements. By knowing what to look for, you can help keep yourself from getting stranded in the cold.