Don't Wait - Winterize Your Car Now

This checklist can help you aviod headaches and expensive costs.

Now that the days are getting chillier and winter is approaching, your car should be ready for the changing weather, too. Even if you live in a warm climate, colder temperatures can take their toll.

Don't take chilly chances! These proactive tips can help you avoid getting caught out in the cold.

Antifreeze: Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for changing antifreeze and test it to ensure it'll prevent freezing and boiling over. Have the radiator flushed if needed.

Batteries: Cold weather can reduce battery power. Have a technician test the battery and charging system to make sure your car is ready for winter. Also, keep your battery terminals and connectors free of corrosion, indicated by white or yellowy powder.

Oil: Check your car's manual for the oil viscosity recommended for driving in cooler temperatures. Get the oil changed if needed.

Tires: Tire pressure drops with colder weather, so frequently check your tires, including the spare, to ensure they are properly inflated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends checking tread wear indicators, which are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they are even with the outside of the tread, you should replace the tire. Or use the "penny" test. Insert the penny with Lincoln's head pointing downward into the tread, if the tread doesn't cover Lincoln's head, you should replace your tires. In especially snowy areas, all-weather or snow tires should be considered - consult your mechanic.

Wiper blades and Windshield fluid: If your wiper blades leave streaks or miss spots, it's time to replace them. Before the first freeze, check the windshield fluid reservoir to make sure it is full and use a solution that won't freeze.

Gas: Make sure your car has enough gas in the tank in freezing or sub-freezing conditions to avoid a frozen gas line.

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