Because cold weather is on the horizon, it’s time to give your vehicle a good checkup.  You depend on it to get you safely wherever you are going, whether it’s to the grocery store, or a long trip.  If you maintain your car or truck with regular oil changes, and routine maintenance, hopefully, it will repay you with dependability. 

Here are some important things to check out on your automobile before you wake up to a freezing morning: 

  • Battery.  Cold temperatures reduce cranking power; your battery is asked to do more to start the engine with low temperatures, so be sure it is in good working order.
  • Don’t rev up the motor when you first start it; that won’t warm it up any faster.
  • Wipers and windshield wiper fluid.  Replace old wipers if they leave streaks on the window.  Normal life of wipers is one year.  Leave them in raised position to keep them from freezing to windshield if car is left outside.
  • Ignition system
  • Heater
  • Thermostat
  • Antifreeze
  • Lights
  • Belts and Hoses
  • Exhaust system
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Defroster
  • Brakes
  • Oil level.  Make sure you use the right engine oil. (Consult owners’ manual.) Oil becomes thicker in cold weather.  Oil with (W) in the viscosity index is formulated for winter.
  • Tires.  Your tires need to have good tread.  If your travel in heavy snow conditions, carry a set of tire chains in your vehicle.
  • Gasoline or Diesel.  Keep your tank at least one-half full at all times when possible. 

O.K.: Now you’ve checked out the car/truck,  and it’s good to go.  If you are going on a trip alone, be sure to tell someone where you are going, when you plan to arrive, and then let them know you got there safely.  Be sure your cell phone is handy, but please, don’t text and drive!  Here’s some things you need to take along,  just in case of an emergency: 

  •          Food items, such as energy bars, peanut butter and crackers, etc.
  •          Gallon of water
  •          A flashlight
  •          First-Aid Kit
  •          Hand Warmers
  •          Thermal or other blanket
  •         Motorist Emergency Safety Kit    
  •         Fire starting supplies 

Most of us do keep our cars maintained properly, but emergencies can happen, such as a flat tire, accident, or any unplanned incident.  Having these things in your car could make a huge difference in keeping you warm and safe until help arrives.  We hope you never get stranded, but be prepared, and call for assistance as soon as possible.