Winterize your vehicle

While winter is filled with beautiful scenery and fun outdoor activities, the season can take a toll on your vehicle if you aren’t prepared. Cold temperatures are hard on the engine, ice limits tire traction, potholes damage wheels, salt causes rust and gravel nicks the paint. Luckily, when you consider the following steps – you’ll help your vehicle weather the storms of winter.

SNOW TIRES

Whether your tires are worn, high-performance or all-season – they may perform poorly on icy roads. Consider buying winter tires, which are designed to provide maximum traction in even the worst cold weather conditions.

TIRE PRESSURE

Properly inflated tires will guarantee the best possible contact between your tires and the driving surface. In freezing temperatures, however, the cooler air contracts resulting in lower air pressure. Check tire pressure periodically throughout the season to save money and keep your family safe.

BELTS AND HOSES

Cold temperatures can split hoses and break belts, so have them inspected before winter begins. Replace anything that looks suspicious so you won’t be stranded on the side of the road during a blizzard.

WINDSHIELD

Maintaining good visibility is a struggle in the winter with rain, snow and salt building up on the windshield. Make sure the rubber on your wiper is in good shape and ensure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is always filled with de-icer fluid.

BATTERY

Extreme temperatures can reduce a vehicle’s battery power by up to 50 percent. If your battery is older than three years, have it tested at your local automotive shop before taking on the subzero freezing temperatures.

EMERGENCY KIT

Roadside kits are priceless when in an emergency. You can find pre-assembled kits at your local store or save a few bucks by making one of your own. Include the following items:

  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit
  • Blanket and warm clothes
  • Paper towels
  • Snow and ice scraper

HEAT AND DEFROST

Before winter begins, make sure to check that your vehicle’s heat and windshield defroster are in working order because they will definitely be put to the test.

IN NEED OF A NEW VEHICLE BEFORE WINTER HITS? TruStone Financial is offering auto loans. New or used, simple or fully loaded – you’ll be prepared for anything winter throws your way. When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’re in control.

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Editor’s note: Segments of this article were taken from Edmunds.com.