Prepare your car for the official arrival of winter

Preparing your car for harsh winter temperatures before they strike is a great way to ensure your vehicle will be able to handle the year’s coldest months.

Both new and old cars need maintenance during this season. Following the car care tips below will help to keep your vehicle running at its peak from now until spring.

? Check the tires. Snow, sleet and slippery roads mean you will rely on your tires during the winter more than any other time of the year?so make sure they are up to the task.

Check your tires for correct cold weather air pressure and have them rotated. Inspect the condition of your tire?s tread.

This can be achieved by performing a simple test. Place a penny on its edge in the tread groove with Abraham Lincoln upside down. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire treads are worn down and you should replace your tires.

This same test should be done in several tread grooves across the tire.

? Clean your fuel injector. When the temperature reaches its lowest, you want to know your engine will still operate efficiently. Using it in your vehicle can improve your car?s fuel efficiency, power, throttle response and emissions. It also helps your car start quickly, idle smoothly and operate in winter?s coldest weather.

? Check your fluid levels. Check your brake, coolant, power steering, transmission fluids and windshield washer fluid levels regularly during the winter months.

Clear visibility is imperative during the winter months, and windshield fluid can be heavily used. It is a good idea to have a bottle in your trunk to ensure safe driving conditions.

? Clean the air filter. The winter season sees the roadways littered with debris that can get caught in your vehicle?s air filter.

The air filter can be easily inspected and cleaned or replaced it if necessary. Doing so will help your car run more efficiently and may even prevent larger problems from occurring in the future.

? Prepare a winter survival kit. Even the best planning can?t prevent a winter accident. If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, a winter survival kit could be invaluable.

Your kit should include an ice scraper, de-icing liquid, hand warmers, a granola bar or two, bottled water and cat litter, which can provide traction for your tires if you get stuck.

It is also a good idea to store your phone in the glove box or center console when driving. This way, if you do spin out, you’ll be able to find your phone afterward.

? Take your vehicle in for a tune-up. Some winter car maintenance tasks may be outside of your expertise, so it is a good idea to bring your car in for a winter check-up.

Your regularly scheduled oil change is the perfect opportunity for your mechanic to do a more detailed inspection of your vehicle. Come prepared with any questions or concerns so your mechanic knows what to look for.

The winter driving season can be nerve-wracking, but if you apply the tips above, you can rest assured that your vehicle is prepared for whatever the season throws at you.


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