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How to Prepare Your Car For the Winter

When winter approaches there are some basic things you must do to make sure your vehicle remains reliable and safe. If you live in a warm climate you should do these things on a regular basis anyway for the same reasons!

  1. Have your cooling system cleaned and flushed, and new antifreeze put in.

  2. A thorough cooling system check will include a leak test. This is where they put the system under pressure and visually look for leaks. Ask you mechanic to do this, in the event it is not part of his regular cooling system service.

  3. Make sure that all your radiator and heater hoses are also checked. If any of them show signs of cracking, rotting or softness replace them even if they're not leaking yet.

  4. Check drive belts for cracks or wear. Replace if necessary.

  5. Check your windshield wipers for wear. Replace if needed.

  6. Have your brakes and tires checked. Replace any worn parts in the brakes and any worn tires.

  7. have your brake lines checked, both rubber and metal ones. Replace any that show any signs of corrosion, cracks or damage. If a brake line goes you're in big trouble!

  8. Have your emergency brake checked as well. Make sure it works smoothly without sticking, and releases fully.

  9. Also make sure your spare has air in it, and you know how to safely use your jack and lug wrench.

  10. Make sure your heater, defroster and rear defogger are working properly.

  11. Have your battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Don't take any chances here.

  12. Have your exhaust system checked for leaks. You don't want deadly exhaust fumes leaking into the vehicle when you're driving around with the windows closed.

  13. Carry emergency equipment on board your vehicle, including jumper cables, flash light, extra batteries, windshield washer fluid, flares, a shovel, first aid kit, basic hand tools, blankets and of course a cell phone.

  14. And don't forget to keep plenty of gas and windshield washer fluid in your vehicle.

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