Preparing Your Car for Winter Driving

If you take care of your car, your car will take care of you. Then again, if you let your car down, it will let you down too.

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With that in mind, one of the most difficult things we ask cars to do each year is deal with the vagaries of cold weather operation. Preparing your car for winter driving is smart for a couple of reasons. It can eliminate expenditures associated with repairing damage over the long run and it will minimize the possibility of finding yourselfstranded in the freezing cold.The good news is with a proactive attitude, you can ensure yourself years of trouble-free operation.

While we’re on the subject of a proactive attitude, another way to get the most from your car is looking into a bad credit refinance car loan from a company like RoadLoans, if circumstances caused you to have to accept a less than optimal loan for your car. These organizations specialize in helping people like you get better deals so they can drive with more peace of mind.

With that said, according to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), regular maintenance will helpyou catch minor problems before they become big headaches. Dedicated to the certification of automotive technicians and service professionals to protect automotive service consumers, ASE offers these car care tips to give youwinter driving peace of mind.

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Change your filters.Air, fuel, and PCV filters are key to the smooth operation of your engine. A poorly running powerplant is less efficient, burns more gasoline and is subject to stalling in cold weather.

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Change your oil.Ironically, regular oil and filter changes are the most frequently neglected services, despite their outsized importance when it comes to protecting your engine.

Service your cooling system.Coolant (AKA antifreeze) should be checked at the beginning of the season and again throughout the winter. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. Drive belts, clamps, and hoses should also be inspected to ensure their integrity.

Replace wiper blades.Use winter-rated blades if you live in a harsh climate. Keep your windshield washer solvent tank filled. Always carry an ice scraper to clear your windshield and never use hot water for this purpose. Glass expands when it is heated. The sudden application of a superheated fluid could cause it to break in freezing conditions.

Add a bottle of fuel deicer.If the temperature routinely drops below freezing where you live—or will be driving— pouring a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month will help keep moisturein the fuel line from freezing. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming—as well as minimizes the possibility of running out of fuel in frigid temperatures.

Replace burned out bulbs.You’ll also want to periodically clean road grime from all the lenses. This should be done with warm water and a soft cloth, otherwise you’ll risk scratching them. You can clean them with toothpaste if they have become clouded.

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Carry an emergency kit. Awell-stocked kitcontainsgloves, boots and blankets as well as flares, a small shovel and sand or kitty litter. Tire chains, a flashlight and extra batteries should be included as well. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra car charger for your phone and carbohydrate-rich snacks in your glove box.

Undertaking a long drive in a poorly maintained car in the dead of winter is asking to get stranded. And, should you ask, your car is well within its rights to comply. If there ever existed a situation in which it can be said what you give is what you get—automotive maintenance falls solidly into this category.

Preparing your car for winter driving is one of the smartest things you can do.