With winter fast approaching, is your car ready for the cold? Follow these seven
steps to help your vehicle tackle the elements and to keep you safe this coming
1. Check your antifreeze mixture. Shoot for a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water inside your radiator to prevent the mixture from freezing. Use an antifreeze tester - a simple, inexpensive tool available at your local auto parts store - to check the mixture. If it's off, drain and refill your cooling system.
2. Make sure you can see clearly. A blinding blizzard is not when you want your windshield wipers and wiper fluid to fail you. Wipers work well for about a year, so if it's time, invest in some new ones. Also, don't forget to top off your windshield washer reservoir regularly.
3. Get a proper oil change. Cold weather can lead to thicker engine oil, which won't lubricate the engine well enough. So if it's time for your car's tune-up, don't delay! During the oil change, make sure the oil used is the right thickness for your vehicle. Check your owner's manual for oil recommendations for different temperatures.
4. Inspect your battery. Did you know a vehicle's battery power can drop up to 50% in extreme cold? Make sure the battery has enough water, and its posts and connections are free of corrosion. If your battery's more than three years old, get a certified repair shop to test it.
5. Check your tire pressure. To maximize your traction on wet or snowy roads, you need properly inflated tires. But cold weather contracts the air in your tires and decreases your tire pressure. Check your owner's manual for your correct tire pressure, then use a tire gauge to check you current levels.
6. Consider using snow tires. They may cost extra, but experts say winter tires are worth the investment. Optimized for snowy and icy road conditions, snow tires give you better driving traction than all-season tires. Some insurance companies offer a discount if you use winter tires.
7. Check your four-wheel drive system. Most people don't use 4WD until winter hits, so make sure it's working properly. On slippery roads, 4WD will give you more traction. Make sure all drivers of the car know when and how to use it.
One more way to protect you and your car this season is to make sure you're not overpaying for car insurance. Visit InsuranceHotline.com, your one-stop destination for the lowest rates for all your insurance needs.