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Those who live in Florida and Southern California might not have to deal with much winter weather, but for the rest of us driving in winter weather is all but a certainty. With winter on its way, there are some important things you need to consider when it comes to the maintenance on your vehicle. Even if you have been living in Alaska for most of your life, the following tips can serve as helpful reminders of the simple tasks you can do to stay safe and keep your vehicle in working order.

Get a Good Oil Change

Are you getting close to the time of a 30,000-mile full-service inspection on your vehicle? If so, don’t put it off! In addition to everything else, this service should include an oil change and the oil should have the correct thickness needed for this time of year. Oil tends to get thicker as the weather gets colder and if it gets to be too thick your engine won’t get the proper lubrication. The service department at Craig and Landreth Chrysler (Crestwood, KY) recommends checking your owner’s manual for further instruction about which oil to use in certain climates and temperatures.

You Need to See

Has it been a while since you’ve changed your wiper blades? They tend to wear out after a year, so be sure to purchase some new ones if you’re overdue. If you find yourself struggling with visibility in a blinding storm be sure to fill up your windshield washer reservoir with fluid. Plain water won’t work during the winter as it tends to freeze. Also, make sure to check your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep your windshield clear.

Check Your Battery

Winter is the perfect time of year to make sure your battery’s post and connections are free of corrosion and that your battery has all the water it needs. If your battery is more than three years old, have a certified mechanic test the battery’s ability to hold a charge. 

Have Your Belts and Hoses Checked

While you’re having the full service done on your vehicle, make sure that your belts and hoses are checked for some wear and tear even if you drive a modern car. Colder temperature can do damage to belts and hoses, so make sure your mechanic checks them and replaces them if necessary. 

Check the Tire Pressure

All your tires need to be properly inflated to ensure that you have the best possible traction during the winter months as it can be severely compromised is snow, sleet, and freezing rain. As the air gets colder the air pressure in your tires is likely to drop so it’s important to get them routinely checked. You can expect to lose one pound per square inch whenever the temperature drops ten degrees. For what your vehicle’s target tire pressure should be, consult your owners’ manual.

Make Sure you Have the Right Antifreeze Mixture

You should try to aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water inside your radiator. Achieving the right ratio will keep the mixture from freezing even when the temperature dips below zero. An antifreeze tester is inexpensive and can easily check the status of your mixture. You can pick these up at any auto parts store. If your mixture is wrong, your cooling system should be drained and refilled. If you do this yourself be sure to dispose of the old antifreeze properly. Don’t simply pour antifreeze down the drain.

Hopefully, all these tips will help you keep you and your car safe during the winter months. Best of luck driving in these conditions and stay safe out there!