How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

by on January 24th, 2011
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Now that fall is here and winter is just around the corner, this is the time to prepare your car for the harsh weather. When it comes to automobile maintenance remember the idiom: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Do not wait until your inspection sticker expires to get your car inspected; instead, take it to the inspection center early so you can be pro-active and get on top of any potential issues before they cause problems on the road.

Keep your car clean
It’s much easier to see out your windows and side mirrors if they’re clean.

Your tires are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle so check the tire pressure regularly and fill your tires if they are low. Most gas stations provide a tire gauge and air for as little as $0.50 per use. Don’t forget to inspect your tires’ tread as well. If they are too worn, this can cause hydroplaning on the road which is not only dangerous for you, but others on the road around you.

It is especially important to make sure your headlights are working properly before it rains or snows. Headlights help the driver see better and make a car more visible to other drivers.

To check your headlights simply park your vehicle with the engine running, turn the headlights on, and step out of your vehicle to see if the headlights are working properly. To check the back brake lights have a friend or neighbor stand behind your vehicle (at a safe distance away while the car is in park) while you step on the brake pedal. You can also use a reflective wall such as a garage window or storefront window to check the lights without getting out of the vehicle.

Wiper Blades
During inclement weather your wiper blades can be your best friend. Though wiper blades should work year-round, it’s important to check them throughout the year. Blades can become worn from different factors (including heat from the sun), and as a result, wiper blades will work poorly when clearing rain or snow from your windshield.

So how do you know it’s time to replace your wiper blades? Well, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), blades should be replaced when your existing blades leave streaks or chatter when going back and forth. If you can’t change your wiper blades yourself, ask a sales person at an auto supply store like Auto Zone or take your vehicle to an auto repair shop like Pep Boys. If you purchased a new vehicle, your car dealer will often replace your blades for free under your vehicle warranty.

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