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Car Care Tips: 

Are You Ready for Winter Driving?

Don't be caught unprepared for the first blast of winter weather. Before the snow flies have a reputable garage do a tune-up and inspection of your vehicle to prevent problems.

Tires - Snow tires increase traction in soft snow. Install them at least on the drive wheels. All-season tires on all wheels with good treads are adequate in some regions. Check your tire pressure regularly-for every 5/C of temperature drop, tire pressure goes down by one pound.*

Cooling System - If it hasn't been done in a while, have your cooling system flushed out with a good chemical cleaner and put in fresh anti-freeze. Check containers, belts, hoses, the pressure caps and thermostat.

Brakes - The brakes must be faultless and equalized so there is no pulling to one side which may cause skidding.

Fuel system - Keep your gas tank at least half full. That limits condensation in the tank, so you're less likely to get gas line freezing. Add gasoline antifreeze occasionally. Battery and Electrical System. Cold weather is hard on batteries. If your battery is several years old, have it checked. Be sure connections are clean and tight.

Engine - A diagnostic check-up of the engine can be a good pre- winter investment. If you're due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Faulty wiring, worn spark plugs, a sticking chock or emission control devices that need attention, can all lead to hard starting.

Exhaust System - Check the muffler and tail pipe system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when the windows are closed.

Heaters, Defrosters and Wipers - Have them checked to make sure they are operational. Install winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. Ensure your windshield can give you clear vision of the road and traffic around you.

Oil and Filter - Dirty oil can give you trouble in the winter, so change the oil and filter. Check the other filters, including the fuel, air and transmission filters.

Winter Equipment - The following items should cover most situations:
* Windshield scraper and snow brush;
* Lightweight shovel;
* Bag of sand, wire traction mat or other abrasive substance;
* Large box of facial tissues;
*Properly inflated spare tire;
* Wheel wrench and jack;
* First aid kit;
* Flashlight;
* Flares;
* Battery jumper cables.

For long distance travel, take extra precautions: bring a small blanket, candles, lighter or matches, emergency rations, lined winter boots, hat and other warm clothes, and small heating cans.

Drive Defensively - Winter driving demands extra caution. Always be ready for the unsafe actions of other drivers and poor driving conditions. Clear the snow and ice from your car, allow more travel time, leave a greater following distance and know how to deal with icy conditions.

* Tires which are under-inflated by only eight pounds can reduce gas mileage by five percent and cut the life by 25 percent or more.

*Information courtesy of The Car Care Council



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January 4 2002 || www.hedahls.com/carcare.html