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How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Car WinterBrace yourself. Winter is coming. Make sure you take appropriate steps to ensure your car is ready for another cold Minnesota winter. Below, we share some tips to help you winterize your car.

Repack Your Trunk – It’s time to take the beach ball out of your trunk and load it up with winter essentials. The first thing you’ll want to add is a blanket or an extra coat. In the event that you get stranded on a particularly cold day, the extra layer will help keep you warm until help arrives. Another good item to pack in your trunk is a sandbag. If you drive a small compact car, the sandbag will help give your car some added weight, which can help keep it on the road. If you find yourself stuck on some ice, the sand can help give you traction to get back on the road.

Lastly, pack something that will help make you visible to drivers in the event that you end up in a ditch. A minor accident can turn fatal if other drivers can’t see your stalled car on the shoulder of the road. Consider adding roadside flashers or a signal flare to your trunk.

Prep Your Tires – It’s always a good idea to keep your tires in good condition, but it’s especially important during the winter months. If your tires are getting low on tread, consider swapping them out for a new set, or make the switch to snow tires. These types of tires are specifically designed to grip the road during the winter, and they will hold their tire pressure better than all-season tires as the temperatures drop.

Check Your Fluids – Now is a good time to check the fluid levels on your car. Make sure you have enough Antifreeze in your vehicle so that your fluids don’t freeze, and take your car in for an oil change if you’re overdue. Also, don’t forget to top off your windshield wiper fluid in case someone sprays your car with wintery slush!

Battery Basics – As we’ve discussed before, your battery should be replaced every 3-5 years to ensure it won’t fail you during the cold seasons. If your battery fluid indicator is white, it means you should consider replacing your battery.

Also, although we didn’t mention it before, it’s a good idea to store jumper cables in your trunk during the winter. In the event that your engine won’t turn over on a cold day, you’ll be able to jump your car with the help of friendly passerby. If you already have jumper cables in your trunk, give them a quick look over to make sure they are still in good working condition.

Plan For The Worst – Make sure you keep a list of emergency phone numbers in your car in the event that you get in an accident. If you have AAA, it’s a smart idea to keep their number in the glove box in case you don’t have your card with you. If you don’t have AAA, write down the number of some local garages. It’s also a good idea to let friends and family members know the route you are taking when you are planning a visit. If you don’t show up, they’ll be able to point the authorities in the right direction.

Related source: HowStuffWorks.com


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