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Car Winterizing

iStock_000005417609XSmallMost of us prepare our homes for the winter season, by cleaning air filters, gutters and insulating pipes and windows, but have you thought about winterizing your car?  The harsh cold months can really take a toll on your vehicle. Have you ever noticed when you jump in your car on a cold winter morning how it feels a little sluggish? A properly working vehicle is essential for safe driving and staying away from accidents.  Keep your driving record clean with these great winter car tips.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your car during the winter is by keeping a well stocked emergency kit somewhere easily accessible inside your vehicle. Many times when your out and about a surprise winter storm can catch you off guard and you find yourself stranded. Make sure you have a flashlight, extra food, blankets and water for emergencies. Always have a spare tire and the tools needed to make the swap. Keeping extra engine oil, engine coolant and washer fluid bottles is always a good way to be prepared.

suburbanGet your four-wheel drive system checked out at a mechanics before the season starts to make sure everything is working properly. If you have 4WD on your car chances are you don’t use it very often during the rest of the year. Nothing is worse than a faulty 4WD system when you were counting on it getting you out of your snowy driveway or even a ditch.

While you’re getting your 4WD system checked at the mechanics, have them check your belts and hoses for any damage or leaks. Colder temps can weaken these car parts and when they break or snap you’ll be out of luck.  Also, have them test your battery and make sure it is not time to get a new one, and make sure you have the right kind of oil in your car for the temperatures in your geographical area.

Woman on a Cell Phone in a Snow StormAlways keep your gas tank full. If you get stranded having extra gas can help you from freezing to death. Also, empty tanks can cause condensation buildup that can eventually lead to water freezing in your fuel lines and it can block the gas from getting to your engine.

Use your best judgement when venturing outside. If a large storm is coming, stay inside if you can. Keep yourself out of harms way when possible.  Avoiding accidents on wintery roads can save you a lot of money in the long run on your car insurance premiums and accident deductibles.