Preparing Your Car for Winter

Your car needs special attention in cold weather to make sure it is running properly. The following are tips that will help ensure your car will be there when you need it in winter weather.

  • Have the radiator system serviced or check the antifreeze level in your radiator yourself with an antifreeze tester. Your antifreeze is tested to make sure it protects your engine down to a certain temperature. For example, your antifreeze may show it is good to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the antifreeze will keep the water in your radiator from freezing until it gets below 10 degrees. You need to make sure the antifreeze will protect your engine in extreme cold. Also, if you are planning to travel to an area that has colder weather, you may need to add antifreeze to protect your car in these lower temperatures.
  • Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture. It is extremely important that you be able to see out of your windshield when you are driving. Once the roads become slushy or muddy, other vehicles will splatter your windshield as they pass or as you follow them. In extreme temperatures, regular windshield-wiper fluid may freeze to your windshield. The winter mixture will not freeze and will allow you to keep your windshield clear. Also, you should make sure your windshield wipers are functioning properly. If they are worn and don't properly clear your windshield, get them replaced. When you start you car, clear any snow or ice from the windshield wiper and also from the area where your windshield wiper fluid is expelled. If the holes are plugged with ice or snow, the fluid cannot get out to clean your windshield.
  • Get your battery checked. It is important to keep your car battery functioning at its capacity during cold weather. If your battery is weak, you may want to consider replacing it. Try to keep your gas tank near full. This helps avoid ice in the tank and fuel line. Also, if you run into trouble on the road, you need to have enough fuel to run your vehicle for short periods of time so you can turn on the heat and stay warm.
  • Replace worn tires and check your tires to make sure they have the proper air pressure.

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