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Winterizing Your Car

Winterizing Your Car

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2011
Late-model vehicles have come to be reliable, all-season transportation. However, many consumers don't realize that they need to take some simple steps to ensure that their vehicles are "winterized' and ready for safe travel at freezing temperatures.

These steps include:
1. Have the oil changed. Engine oil changes viscosity, or thickness, based on temperature. Change engine oil when outside temperatures plummet. This ensures that the engine can start easily in sub-freezing temperatures.
2. Replace the windshield wipers. Rubber wiper blades should be replaced annually, and don't forget the rear wiper, if your vehicle is so equipped.
3. Check the battery. Check that the battery terminals are corrosion-free. If it is more than three years old, have it tested.
4. Check belts and hoses. Belts and hoses wear out over time. Replace them if they are old or cracked.
5. Check the tires for tread and pressure. Driving in the winter requires more tread depth than in the summer. Always check the air pressure as it will naturally drop in colder temperatures.
6. Purchase snow tires. Summer and all-season tires literally freeze below 40 F. If you live in a climate where snow is expected, snow tires will increase safety many times over.
7. Ensure the coolant is the proper mixture. The coolant should be a mixture of water and ethylene glycol. Check your owner's manual if you are unsure.
8. Keep de-icing fluid on hand. Purchase a can of glycerin to free frozen door locks. Consult your owner's manual first.
9. Prepare an emergency kit. Pack blankets, cell phone chargers, snacks, etc� and keep them in the vehicle.
10. Make preparations for the unexpected. Let others know where you are going before traveling.
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