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Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

Colder days will be here soon for many of us. If you live in an area that gets snow and ice, it’s a good idea to prepare your car for winter.

Check your battery. Make sure connections are clean and not corroded. If you have an old battery, you can get it tested to see if it’s time for a replacement. It’s probably better to get a new battery now then to get stuck with a dead battery in a snow storm.

Check coolant levels (and other fluid levels too). Make sure you have enough coolant. If your antifreeze is old, it may be a good idea to have it drained and replaced.

Get an oil change. Regular oil changes help keep your engine in good running condition.

Change your wiper blades. Start winter off with a new set of blades and you’ll be able to see better. You can buy wiper blades made specifically for snow/ice too.

Make sure your wiper fluid is full. Use a wiper fluid designed for colder temperatures.

Don’t forget the ice scraper and snow brush. Maybe keep a spare in the trunk in case it breaks.

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Check tire pressure. It’s common to lose some pressure when the temperatures drop. Under inflated tires can affect the handling of your vehicle and cause tires to wear out quicker. Proper inflation also increases gas mileage and saves you some money at the pump.

Check tire treads. If your tires are old and worn, it is time to replace them. New tires will help you negotiate winter roads better and give you more traction in slippery conditions.

Check the brakes. If your brakes are squeaking a bit when you hit the pedal or feel a little weak, get the pads, etc. replaced.

For those in snowy climates especially, keep an emergency kit in your car in case you get stuck. Some recommended items are blankets, a small shovel, jumper cables, and kitty litter (to help you get traction if you get stuck in snow). Edmunds and Wisconsin.gov have some good recommendations for items to keep in an emergency kit.

Keep your gas tank full (or as close to full as you can). If you get stuck, you want as much gas as you can to run the car and get some heat. This can also help gas lines from freezing.

Take a little time to prepare your vehicle before the snow starts flying. It keeps you and your vehicle safer and helps you get where you’re going.