10 steps to prepare your car for winter

(AAA)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Driving in ice and snow conditions can be very challenging. Preparing your vehicle before ice and winter weather can give some peace of mind and help avoid the hassle of a break-down during severe conditions.

  1. Check your battery for strength and cable corrosion. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  2. Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  3. Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  4. Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem where you live, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  5. Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  6. If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  7. Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  8. Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  9. Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
  10. If your car has an inflator kit instead of a spare time, know where that kit is and how to use it.

AAA says following your car maker’s maintenance schedule should take care of all major issues. They also recommend making sure you carry a warm hat and gloves, blanket, water and energy food in your car, just in case there is a break-down.

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