It's already snowed in Vermont and upstate New York, and you know what that means: the white weather is just around the proverbial corner for the rest of us. Now is the time to prepare your car (and yourself) for winter driving. Here are some tips from AAA New England to get your car ready for forging ahead in cold weather.
Battery and charging system: Have your battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather.
Battery cables and terminals: Check the condition of the battery cables and terminals by making sure all connections are secure.
Brakes: Have brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.
Coolant levels: Check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.
Lights: Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
Wiper blades: Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. In areas with snowy conditions, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the rubber blade and the glass.
Washer and other fluids: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use. Check your transmission, brake and power steering fluids to ensure they're at or above the minimum safe levels.
Your emergency road kit should include the following:
Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
Snow shovel, snow brush and ice scraper
Flashlight with extra batteries
Window washer solvent
Cloth or roll of paper towels
Gloves, hats and blankets
Warning devices (flares or triangles)
Drinking water and non-perishable snacks (energy or granola bars)
First-aid kit and a basic tool kit
Mobile phone and car charger
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