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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to Winterize Your Car

While most people think to winterize their homes when the frost season starts to approach, many people do not think of their vehicles.  Believe it or not, there are many negative impacts that the cold can have on your car, from reduced tire pressure to frozen oil.  This article aims to help show you a few tips to help you prepare your car for winter.  Following these simple tips is easy and inexpensive and can help save you major repair costs or even prevent an accident.

One of the easiest ways to start winterizing your car is to give it a visual inspection.  Are your wiper blades becoming worn?  If so, replacing them can be crucial.  Check antifreeze and other fluid levels and ensure that you have enough washer fluid.  Make sure that your belts and hoses are not worn as well, as the cold weather can cause them to crack or break.  Ensure that there is no corrosion on your battery as well, as jump starting a freezing car with corrosion on your battery terminals is almost impossible.

You will also want to ensure that you obtain an oil change.  As it gets colder, your oil will become thicker.  Make certain that you change your oil to the viscosity that is most recommended for the time of year in order to make sure that your engine stays lubricated and running smoothly.  You will also want to ensure that your antifreeze mixture is right.  Using a premixed solution or purchasing an antifreeze testing kit can help you do this easily.  A mixture that is more than 50% water can freeze, causing severe and expensive damage to your vehicle.  You will also want to ensure that your gas tank never nears empty, as the water in the gas lines can then freeze and cause major damage to your vehicle.

Your tires are very important during winter months, as they will provide the traction you need to maintain control of your vehicle in ice, snow, and other dangerous conditions.  As the temperature grows colder, you will find that your tires will lose pressure.  Keep an eye on tire pressure and always ensure that it is in the proper range.  When possible, consider placing snow tires on your vehicle for added traction.  Studded tires offer excellent traction in icy conditions, and these tires are much safer than all season models.  Ensuring that you have the right tires and the right pressure can go a long way towards preventing winter accidents.

These simple tips can be all it takes to keep your vehicle safe during winter.  One last tip that all drivers should certainly make use of is to create a winter emergency kit.  While your vehicle should already have an emergency kit with a flare, jumper cables, a spare tire, a first aid kit, and tools, your winter kit should offer more.  You should keep a bag of kitty litter to help you gain traction when stuck in snow as well as a blanket, snacks, and extra clothing in the event that you break down.  Boots can help you in the event that you need to go outside to seek help.  With all of this in mind, protecting your car during the winter months can be quite simple.

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