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How to winterize your car
Like it or not, Jack Frost is on his way. Drivers will need to take some precautions to get their cars ready for the winter months.
Here are some tips to winterize your car:
• Don't put off a 30,000-mile full service, if your car is due.
• Flush the cooling system and replace the coolant.
• Replace the windshield wiper blades. Put windshield washer fluid in the windshield washer reservoir (plain water will freeze).
• Have the battery serviced (clean the battery terminal ends and add water) and load-tested to check its ability to hold a charge. If the battery is more than 4 1/2 years old, replace it.
• Use a tire gauge to check the tire pressure. Air contracts with cold, and the tires may become low as the temperature drops.
• Make sure there is air in the spare tire and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in the trunk.
• Make sure the tires are in good condition. If you are not sure what this means, ask a mechanic (in a shop that doesn't sell tires) for an opinion.
• Check the lights, heater and defroster.
• Keep the gas tank as full as possible to prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines.
• Get a brake check if you haven't had one in the last six months.
• Put together an emergency winter kit for the trunk of your car: blanket, extra boots and gloves, ice scraper, small snow shovel, flashlight and kitty litter (for traction when stuck in the snow).
And finally, know what to do if you get stranded.
Don’t wander away from your car unless you’re completely sure about where you are and how far away help is.
Light two flares and situate them at each end of your vehicle to call attention to your plight.
Put on the extra clothes and use the blanket to stay warm. If you have enough gas in the tank, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes for each hour you’re waiting for help.
Leave at least one window open a little bit so that snow and ice don’t seal the car shut.
Suck on a hard candy to prevent your mouth from getting too dry.