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A Comprehensive Checklist for Winter Car Care and Maintenance

Before the first snowflake flies, you need to get your car ready for the cold temperatures ahead. There are several things you can do to make sure your car continues to perform well and that you can drive safely on the highways. A few minutes working to keep your car in good working order is what it will take to keep your car on the road and you on time for your appointments. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to prepare your car for the winter.

Check the Fluids

Keep an eye on the many fluid levels that keep your car running smoothly. Brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant, motor oil, and transmission fluid should always be at the proper levels if you want to keep your vehicle in good shape. While many of these fluids are checked during your service appointments, it’s still a good idea to check them every couple of weeks during the colder months.

Analyze Your Battery

Analyze your battery properly and ensure there is no buildup or corrosion on the posts that would inhibit the connection and keep your battery from working properly. If you need to, disconnect the battery cables and clean the posts to ensure a better connection.

Take It into the Repair Shop for a Tune-Up

You should have your car serviced at least twice a year, even if you change your own oil and do most of the maintenance yourself. Having a professional service your car ensures that your vehicle is thoroughly checked for any type of problem. The tech will change the oil, do a full inspection, and top off all fluids. They will also run a diagnostic check to ensure all electrical components are in good working order.

Look at Your Tires

Take a close look at your tires. Check the air pressure as well as the tread. Use a tread-depth gauge to determine how much tread you have left on your tires. You can use the penny test if you don’t have a gauge. Insert a penny into the tread line with Lincoln’s head toward the tire. If Lincoln’s head touches the tread, you may want to consider replacing them.

Check Your Lights

Check all car lights. Headlights, tail lights, turn signals, backup lights, and fog lights, if you have them, should all be checked to make sure they are all in good working order. If you don’t know how to change them yourself, go to your nearest auto parts store, service station, or dealership. The service techs will change your bulbs and make sure they are working as they should.

Review Your Hoses and Belts Closely

Check each hose and belt. If either starts to look worn, they may need to be changed. The serpentine belt is the largest belt in your car, and if it breaks, your car won’t run. Any time you begin to notice your car becoming sluggish or if it starts to run in an uneven pattern, have your serpentine belt checked.

Keep an Emergency Kit

Winter or summer, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in the trunk. Include a flashlight, batteries, a blanket, non-perishable food items like granola bars, a change of clothes, ice-scrapers, jumper cables, and a large first aid kit. An emergency kit can be a lifesaver if you end up being stuck alongside the road for any length of time.

Being prepared when you get behind the wheel of your car is a must. Having your car thoroughly inspected and having a kit that includes everything you will need in an emergency is essential if you plan on having an uneventful winter. It’s important to take care of your vehicle throughout the year, but during the winter, it will keep you from being stranded.

Another important aspect of being prepared when you get behind the wheel is to get adequate auto insurance. Contact our insurance professionals at Abbate Insurance Associates to get your personalized auto insurance policy within your budget.

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