It may not seem too bad right now, but winter is coming. And when it does, you don't want to be outside taking care of your car. The time to do it is before the worst of the season hits, so use this checklist to make sure your vehicle is ready for the cold.
1. Give the car a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Yes, it will get worse over the course of winter, but at least you can start off clean. A coat of wax may also add extra protection against salt and sand.
2. Evaluate your tires. Make sure your all-seasons have enough tread to be safe. If they're getting worn, it makes sense to replace them now. If you live in an area that gets any amount of snow or ice, specialty snow tires can make an enormous difference in traction and control.
3. Have your battery and brakes checked by a mechanic.
4. Top off all fluids, and you may want to change to a special winter formula for your windshield wiper fluid.
5. Install new windshield wipers.
6. Check all lights including headlights, brakes and turn signals.
7. If you have a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, add some extra weight in the back such as bags of sand.
8. Keep your fuel tank on the full side, never letting it get below one-quarter full.
9. Put an ice scraper and small shovel in the trunk. An extra hat and pair of gloves are great for when the weather changes unexpectedly.
10. Make an emergency package that includes high energy snacks such as granola bars or nuts, bottled water, first aid essentials, blankets, flashlights and a car charger for your cell phone.
Winter has its difficult moments, but it helps if you're prepared. Take a few minutes this week to go through this checklist and ready your car for the upcoming winter season.