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Preparing your vehicle for winter driving

As with any endeavor, the success or failure of any driving requires planning. You plan vacations and trips, you plan your wardrobe base on the weather, even your grocery list. Why would you not plan for your car's winter driving needs. Taking care of your car or light truck takes a little thought and just some common sense.

Cold weather driving can be hazardous and even life threatening if you get into trouble, but this information will at least help keep your car out of trouble. The rest is up to you and will follow in another article.

The extremes of weather can be very hard on your car. Both hot and cold can disable your vehicle if you don't plan properly. For now, we'll talk about the cold. Unfortunately, the things that are out of sight are also out of mind. So, this is to bring to the forefront the things you may not have thought of.

Can the coolant/antifreeze protect your engine at very cold temperatures?

Are your belts and hoses in good condition?

Check your windshield wipers. Do they chatter or streak? Replace them.

Is the vehicle battery 5 or more years old? Have it checked to see if it will hold up while under load.

Is the charging system charging the battery like it should?

Check headlamps, tail lamps and all other lights on the car including the 3rd brake light.

Check the tread on your tires and the air pressure to be sure it is set to factory specs.

Are you in an area that requires chains or snow tires on a snow emergency route?

Spray some WD-40 or other penetrant into the door and truck locks to prevent them from freezing.

Is your gas tank full? The extra weight will help traction and give you extended idle time should you get stuck or stranded.

When you have your vehicle all set for winter, here are a few more items to keep in mind.

Clean the snow off all the glass...windshield front and rear plus the side glass. Remove the snow from your headlamps and tail lamps. You need to be able to see and you need to be able to be seen by other people on the road as well.