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How to winterize your car in 8 easy steps

Car in Winter

Photo Credit: Flickr/Chris Darling

How to winterize your car in 8 easy steps

By finn on December 15, 2015

Winterizing your car is easier than you might think and can help you avoid the hassle (and cost!) of a breakdown in cold, harsh winter weather. You never know, it might even save your life.

To get expert know-how, we asked Cameron, a top mechanic on JustAnswer, for advice. Here are his top steps to keep your car humming this winter:

1.     Have your car’s battery and cables checked before cold weather arrives. Cold temperatures are really hard on batteries so a weak, older battery won’t last long in harsh conditions.

2.     Check your antifreeze level and strength to make sure you have enough and that it’s the right blend for your car. No only does antifreeze keep your car’s fluids from freezing but it also helps prevent rust and corrosion.

3.     Stock up on winter windshield washer fluid and replace your wiper blades. Winter windshield fluid is formulated to cut through snow and ice more effectively than regular washer fluid. You don’t want to drive without it.

4.     Double-check your tires and make sure your treads are deep enough to fight through snow, ice, and slush. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your tire pressure, too. And remember, even with all-season tires you want to adjust your driving habits because these tires start to harden up and lose traction at any temperature below 41°F.

5.     Be diligent about oil changes. If temperatures in your area regularly dip below freezing, make sure to use a ‘winter weight’ oil, which is thinner.

6.     Get your air filters changed. In the winter, they are key to preventing leaves, bugs, and other debris from getting into the heating and ventilating system. While you’re at it, make sure to get your brakes and exhaust system checked, too.

7.     Check to see that your head- and taillights are working properly. Not only for your visibility, but also so other drivers on the road can see you.

8.     Carry an Emergency Kit in your car. And a lock defroster in your purse or coat pocket. Just go ahead and do it. You’ll thank yourself later.

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