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Prepare your car for Old Man Winter

November 24, 2018

Old Man Winter here and that means it’s time to get your car prepped for the frigid temps. Some things you can do yourself, others could require a trip to a service shop.

Check the tires

Tires are the most important safety feature on your car. Check your tires for proper air pressure. You cannot tell by looking if a tire is low. Get a gauge and check them all, including the spare. Make sure your jack is in working order. This is a good time for a rotation, too.

Get your car serviced

You can do check some of these things yourself or take your car in for a check up. Here are the things you need to check:

Check the battery: Cold weather can zap battery power. Many repair facilities will do a battery check for free. Have them inspect the charging system, belts, and tighten connections. If your battery is under 20% life left, replace it.

Check the fluids: You don’t want to get a warning light while on the highway.

Coolant: Check coolant levels to make sure there is enough to keep your car from overheating and to have enough protection to keep your engine from freezing up. A 50-to-50 mix of coolant to water works in most regions of the country.

Other fluids: Check power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.

Check the timing belt: If your car has a timing belt, and you are within 5000 miles of the factory suggested mileage to change it out, do it before you head out. If the belt breaks at highway speeds, you will likely ruin the engine.

Clean or replace windshield wipers:

Try cleaning first with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. Run the soaked cotton ball up and down the rubber edge of the wiper blade. If that doesn’t work, replace them.

Check Lights and Turn Signals

It’s critical headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals work in heavy fog or snow. Replace any lights if needed.

Pack a winter emergency kit

Pack a few things: a flashlight, gloves, plug-in cell phone charger for the power port or cigarette lighter, an insulated blanket, drinking water, jumper cables, and a reflective road warning device. Also, carry some fix-a-flat just in case.

All these things won’t take much time or cost a lot of money, but could make driving in the winter safer for you.

Jerry Reynolds is an auto industry expert and the host of nationally syndicated Car Pro Show heard Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on News Radio KTRH 740 AM, and Sports/Radio 610 KILT AM, Saturday 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and online at www.CarProUSA.com.

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