Getting your car ready for winter

Take care of your car this winter...unless you want it to crap out on you, of course.

The cold weather is upon us, which means that your car needs to get ready for winter. And the problem is that your car can’t do this for itself – unfortunately. That thing should earn its keep, gosh darn it. Anyways. Cold weather can be tough on vehicles. You may want to take your car to a trusted mechanic and get them to give it a once-over.

1. Get the right kind of oil. There are different types of oil? Yes, and one with the wrong viscosity (fancy word alert – it means thickness) won’t do a great job of helping your car’s engine because it’ll get too thick.

2. Check your windshield wiper blades. Get new ones if you need to – it’s easy. While you’re at it, check your windshield wiper fluid.

4. Make sure that your defrosters and defogger thingys are working properly. Oh, and the heater.

5. Don’t forget the battery. Is it going to stay alive for the season, or does it need to be replaced? Is it rusty or anything? You don’t want to get stranded in the freezing cold due to a crappy battery, that’s for sure.

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6. Are all belts and hoses working right? This is another thing cold weather can affect.

7. Ah, tire pressure. Cold weather can wreak havoc on tire pressure, so make sure that you have the appropriate pressure in your tires. Improperly inflated tires aren’t great at keeping good traction, which is kind of important in the cold.

8. Consider snow tires and check your 4-wheel drive. Do you want snow tires? Does your 4-wheel drive work well?

9. Check that you have the right antifreeze amount. The ratio of antifreeze to water needs to be just right.

10. Have an emergency kit. Include things like blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, non-perishable food, boots, gloves, water, a windshield scraper, washer fluid, tools, flares, tire chains, a first-aid kit, a spare tire and the tools to change the tire, paper towel, and so on.

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11. Have a plan for if you get stuck somewhere. If you do happen to have car troubles, you’d better have a plan for how to bail yourself out. A good idea might be to have your cell phone with you and charged, just in case. (Just DON’T use it while you’re driving!)

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