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Winterizing Your Car

Cold weather is coming, so it's time to get your car or truck ready:
  • Plan ahead. Mechanical failure or problems can be deadly in winter conditions, so don't take chances.
  • If you are going to be in extremely cold climate for a period of time, adding a de-icer to your fuel can keep moisture in the fuel system from freezing.
  • Check the level, pH and concentration of the cooling system every time the vehicle is serviced. A mixture of 50% anti-freeze and 50% water will protect down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit; do not exceed 70% anti-freeze or overheating can occur.
  • Check your owners manual for the different grades of oil that are recommended for winter. In most cases a 10w30 oil will work for normal as well as short periods of winter temperature driving.
  • All filters and fluids should be inspected and replaced at the factory recommended intervals to assure proper operation under inclement conditions.
  • If your battery is within one year of its warranty period have it tested before cold weather driving. Having clean and tight connections, no corrosion, and proper fluid levels are a necessity.
  • Be careful of holes in the floorboards or trunk area that can also allow exhaust to be drawn into the vehicle.
  • Check tires - thin or uneven tread wear does not provide good traction and can be very dangerous in winter weather. Cut or damaged sidewalls are also weak areas that can collapse under severe conditions.
  • Inspect all lights to assure they are functional; lack of light for illumination or visibility can be deadly.
  • Be sure your heater and defroster are in proper working order to assure passenger comfort and proper visibility.
  • Do you need special snow windshield blades on your vehicle? These blades can function well under extreme cold and snowy conditions. Be sure your windshield wipers function properly and wipe cleanly. Be sure your windshield washer fluid is appropriate for cold weather, is topped up and sprays properly.
  • Old, damaged or loose rubber hoses and drive belts can cause your vehicle to be inoperable in severe weather conditions. Have a professional inspect them before the season begins.
  • Carry emergency gear: Ice scraper, spare bottle of washer fluid, boots, gloves, flares, blankets, tire chains, flashlight with spare batteries, a small shovel, some sand or kitty litter for traction. It is also a good idea to keep some snacks handy, such as energy bars in your glove box.
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