How to whip your car into shape for the winter weather - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How to whip your car into shape for the winter weather

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As colder temperatures chill the Channel 3 viewing area, we prepare ourselves by turning on the heat and dressing in layers, but is your car "winter ready?"

Cars, like most people, don't function as well in cold weather. It's why it's important to make sure your car can withstand the freezing temperatures, and keep it out of the shop.  

Tire World and Auto Services owner, Ron Wright, said most winter related repairs can be avoided. 

You can start by checking the car's fluids. That includes the brake fluid, power steering fluid, and even windshield fluid. You want to make sure they are able to withstand the cold and don't freeze. 

Wright said the most important fluid to pay attention to is antifreeze, which helps keep your car from overheating. 

"At least two or three times a year we'll have a car in here with frozen radiator because somebody's been adding a little bit to it forever, been meaning to get it fixed, and then they don't and at that point it's almost too late."

Checking your car's tires are important too. As the temperature changes, they can fluctuate. 

"If your tire pressure is too low it can cause you to use more fuel, you're less fuel efficient and it'll cause your tires to wear. It's always best to get that properly checked at least once a month."

Wright said when the tires wear down too much, they can split and tear apart, which can be very dangerous while driving. 

Many of us are familiar with warming up our car in the morning, which can be extremely helpful for numerous reasons.   

"It is good for our car to warm it up in the morning. Let the temperatures come out of the vents get warm for you and can of course defrost the windshield if needs be and to get the oil in the car up to temperature," Wright said.

But when warming your car make sure you don't let it run in an enclosed area, like a garage. It can be dangerous.  

If your luck runs out and you find yourself stranded in the cold, here's a few things to keep stashed in your car:

  • Blanket
  • Flash light with a flashing function for emergencies
  • At least a half tank of gas
  • Cell phone and charger

Here's more tips from AAA, on how to drive safe this winter:

  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never run a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
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