4 Midwinter Car-Care Musts

Winter can wreck havoc on your wheels. Here, check out expert solutions for how to keep your car in top shape ‘til warmer weather arrives.

Groundhog Day may have promised an early spring this year, but with much of the U.S. still digging out from a sustained onslaught of snow and ice, winter is far from over. Severe winter weather like this can take a major toll on your car, inside and out. Luckily the folks at AAA’s Car & Travel magazine have tips to keep your car in top shape ‘til warmer weather arrives. In particular, Car & Travel recommends you make sure these parts are in good working order:

  • The Battery
  • Your car’s battery works extra-hard in winter, when frigid temperatures thicken the consistency of oil and reduce the battery’s overall power. To ensure yours runs at an optimal level, check that the cables are tightly connected and remove any build-up around the terminals. Always check your owner’s manual before jump-starting a dead battery to protect a potentially delicate electrical system.

  • The Tires
  • Make sure that the treads aren’t worn down and the pressure is at its recommended level. Keep in mind that each 10-degree drop in temperature leads to the loss of a pound of tire pressure.

  • The Fluids
  • Ideally, you want a 50-50 ratio of anti-freeze to water. Too much of either can lead to engine damage. Refill windshield wiper fluid with a winter-specific non-freezing brand.

  • The Wipers
  • While you’re thinking about windshield wipers, be sure to check for tears or other ice-related damage. Replace worn blades with a pair designed for snow and ice and keep them in good condition by lifting the wipers off of your windshield whenever the car is parked.

    For the complete list of winter car-care tips from AAA, read the article at www.carandtravelmagazine.com.

    For a printable checklist to keep in your car all season long, check out “The Official Click and Clack Winter Driving Rules” from the experts at NPR’s “Car Talk.”

    Sources: carandtravelmagazine.com, cartalk.com

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    Originally Published in Reader's Digest