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Your Winter Car Care Checklist

33032673_sWinter can be rough on drivers. Winter weather can create hazardous driving conditions, and the cold can wreak havoc on your vehicle, even making it dangerous to drive. Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to keep your car running and prevent a winter weather accident. This is your winter car care checklist:

1. Your Battery

When the temperature dips below freezing, it can take twice as much power to start your car than in warmer weather. If your battery is more than three years old, or if you notice your engine is slow to start, consider replacing your battery. If you’re not sure of the condition your battery is in, make a trip to a local mechanic or auto parts store and have it tested. Breaking down on the side of the road or being stranded because of a dead battery in the winter is not only extremely unpleasant, it can also be highly dangerous.

2. Your Tires

When the cold weather hits (especially when it happens suddenly, like it has here in the Scranton/Wilkes Barre area) it can affect your tire pressure overnight. Know the proper PSI for your vehicle, and be sure your tires are properly inflated. This is especially important if it starts to snow or sleet, as your tire pressure can affect your traction.

If you’ve been thinking about getting new tires, the winter may be a good time to do it. Check your tires’ tread – bald tires can be extremely dangerous in winter weather. The best thing to do is to invest in snow tires for the winter months, as they provide the best tread and traction for slick and snowy conditions and can help prevent a crash. But, if you use all-season tires, make sure they are in good condition.

3. Your Oil and Fluids

Before winter weather sets in, check your oil and other fluids including antifreeze/coolant and windshield wiper fluid, or have them filled by a service technician. This bit of routine maintenance can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

4. Your  Windshield, Wipers,  and Windows

Avoiding a car accident in the winter is much more difficult if you can’t see clearly. Ice and snow can damage windshield wipers and make them less effective. If they need to be replaced, do it now before you find yourself squinting through a snowstorm. Additionally, don’t try to use the wipers to clear frost from your windshield in the morning, as this can damage the wiper blades. Instead, use your vehicle’s defroster and an ice scraper. When clearing frost, ice, or snow from your car, make sure to fully clear the windows, front and rear, before driving away. Creating an opening just big enough to see through is extremely unsafe. Also, make sure to remove all of the snow from the hood and the roof of your vehicle, so as not to send snow shards flying into the windshields of other drivers.

Take a little time to check on all four of these areas on your vehicle, or schedule a routine service. As always, if you are hurt in a car accident, don’t hesitate to call our office or send us an email. We will respond promptly to answer your questions and help you determine what to do next.

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