Hat? Check. Gloves? Check. Engine Oil?

As winter’s chilly embrace holds most of the nation in its grip it’s important that we protect not only ourselves from the elements but our vehicles too.

Frigid weather can have an impact on the health of your car. Keeping it in proper working condition during this cold stretch is vital for your safety and the safety of others. Here are some winterizing tips to keep in mind as you travel through the ice and cold during this blustery season.

Choose the Right Kind of Oil
As it gets colder outside, your engine oil naturally thickens. If it is too thick, it won’t do the best job at keeping your engine lubricated. So if you’re due for an oil change during the winter months make sure you change to one that has the right thickness for this time of year.

Keep an Eye on Your Battery
Less than tropical conditions can have a profound effect on your vehicle’s battery. It can lose up to 33% of its power when the temperature dips below freezing. If temps drop below zero, you can expect a 50% in power loss. So check those connections for corrosion, make sure it’s getting the water it needs and if your battery is more than three years old, get it tested to make sure it can hold its charge.

Check Your Tire Pressure
Wet, snowy or icy conditions can jeopardize your vehicle’s traction on the road. As the weather gets colder, air pressure drops, so keeping your tires properly inflated during winter is a safety-must. Check your Owner’s Manual for the proper target air pressure. And make sure you have enough tread on those tires by placing a quarter into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Washington’s head is always covered by the tread that’s good news, you have more than 4/32″ of tread depth remaining.

Replace Old or Worn Wiper Blades
Driving in snow and ice is always a challenge. If you can’t see out your windshield, not only does it make it more of a challenge but also makes it less safe for you and other drivers on the road. Wiper blades usually last about one year so we recommend replacing them at the beginning of every winter. If you live in a harsh winter climate rubber-clad snow blades are an effective alternative. And don’t forget to top off your windshield wiper fluid reservoir too.

An emergency kit is always a good idea. Keep blankets, extra warm clothes and even jumper cables handy. Stay bundled up and stay safe on the road in 2013.

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