Your automobile is likely one of your most valuable possessions, and you need to ensure it is kept in optimal working order at all times. With winter’s cold air and precipitation already beginning to show up across the United States, now is a good time to prepare your car for winter.

Here are a few winterization tips to help keep your automobile performing well this winter:

General checkup
Consumer Reports, an organization devoted to consumer information, affirms that certain diagnostic checks must be completed, including a thorough test of the battery. Extreme cold temperatures can quickly deplete a battery, so make sure it is in good shape. The nonprofit also suggested checking all fluids, notably oil, and the heating and cooling systems for any irregularities, damages, shortages or otherwise. A quick tune up at your local service center will generally take care of these matters.

Tires, brakes, brake pads
If you live in an area that gets a lot of precipitation, you might want to invest in some winter tires and have them installed soon. These tires tend to not only offer the quiet, smooth and fuel-efficient ride of those made for all seasons, but can provide you with that extra traction necessary to drive in snowy, icy conditions. If you choose to keep your all-season tires on, check the treads to ensure they are not too worn, and get your brakes and brake pads checked for functionality and wear.

Visibility
To help to maintain visibility even when the salt, snow and other hazards pound on the glass, it is advised to get a windshield treatment. This can be done at your auto body shop, or at home with a variety of windshield solutions. Along with that, DMV.org, a website devoted to automobile related matters, suggests making sure your windshield wipers are in good shape, your defrosting system is fully functional and your windshield washer fluid is filled to the brim, especially if you are driving through heavy snow. DMV.org recommends using a windshield washer fluid that contains anti-freeze for maximum effectiveness.

Emergency prep
Extreme conditions can translate to emergency situations even if you take all of the precautions to avoid a breakdown or other issues on the road. DMV.org urged winter drivers to keep blankets, boots, water, flares, flashlights, engine coolant, washer fluid and engine oil in their vehicles at all times during the winter in case they should run into an emergency situation.

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