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With the harsh temperatures, precipitation, low temperatures, and unpredictability, winter is one of the most dangerous times to drive. Safety on the road starts with safety in your vehicle. That’s why it’s important you know how to prepare your car for winter before the season starts.

Before the first snowfall or ice storm, follow this list of 10 tips to winterize your car.

  1. Make sure your car has been recently serviced for an oil change and fluid level inspection.
  2. Have your battery tested to be sure it can hold a charge. And while you’re at the service garage, have them remove any battery corrosion.
  3. Have a professional check your antifreeze. If needed, have your antifreeze replaced before the start of the winter season.
  4. As part of an overall inspection, have a professional check your car’s belts, hoses, and spark plugs to help avoid a breakdown in cold winter temperatures.
  5. Replace your wiper blades and keep a spare pair in your car. When windshield wipers wear down, they can cause water smears on the windshield and become more dangerous for winter drives. To prevent wear, use an ice scraper to clear ice from your windshield rather than your wipers. It’s also important to ensure your wiper fluid is freeze resistant and that you keep extra wiper fluid in your vehicle.
  6. Check your tire pressure. Many cars alert the owner when air is needed due to weather fluctuations, but it never hurts to keep a gauge handy. Your owner’s manual will recommend appropriate tire pressure for various driving conditions. Remember, cold weather can cause tires to deflate.
  7. Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase snow tires. If you live in rural areas where roads are less likely to be cleared, it’s especially important to get snow tires as soon as possible.
  8. Test your 4-wheel drive. Since you likely haven’t used it since last winter, check this setting now so you’re prepared for the first snow storm of the year.
  9. Try to maintain a full tank of gas, especially in freezing conditions. A full tank may help prevent frozen gas lines and other headaches. It may also keep you warm while you wait for roadside rescue in the event of a weather emergency.
  10. Pack an emergency kit for each car in your household. We recommend having these 14 things, like blankets, a flashlight, and warning triangles, on hand.

Now that you know how to prepare your car for winter weather, talk to one of our local, independent agents to get the right auto insurance coverage, too. Our agents are knowledgeable and are ready to talk with you.