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Getting ready for cold weather
You wouldn't head out into cold weather without bundling up. Your vehicle faces similar challenges as temperatures drop. The bottom line: it needs a little extra care as the mercury plummets. A little preparation before winter sets in may help prevent major headaches later.
What You Can Do
Make sure you have a heavy-duty ice scraper and snow brush in your vehicle.
Cold weather reduces tire pressure, so check tire pressure often. See your Owner's Manual for directions and details.
In severe winter temperatures, you may have to change the grade of your engine oil. Check your vehicle's Owner's Manual for the viscosity grade recommended for your vehicle's engine.
Check your wiper blades. Cold temperatures can make blades brittle, and ice on the windshield can cause nicks in the blades, decreasing performance.
If you're planning a trip, take a blanket, extra-warm clothing, a collapsible shovel, a bag of road salt and an extra bottle of windshield washer fluid.
Put on snow tires if you live in major snow belt areas. Check your vehicle's Owner's Manual for details and recommended practices.
Take care of your windshield: Make sure your vehicle has antifreeze rated for the coldest weather. It's also a smart idea to replace your windshield wipers every year before winter begins or purchase winter rated windshield wipers.
Lights On, Please!: In rainy or snowy weather, turn on your headlamps and tail lamps. Even if your visibility is good, other drivers will have a better view of your vehicle in their rearview mirrors
Snow on the Roof: If you live in a snow belt, don't let snow pile up on top of your car or truck. Peaks of snow increase drag and decrease gas mileage. Also, don't let snow pile up in the bed of your pickup. It can cause an obstruction of your view and the view of other drivers.
Battery efficiency: Most cold-weather breakdowns occur because batteries aren't delivering full cranking power. Get your battery checked and make sure battery cables are corrosion-free
All-season vs. winter tires: Although all-season tires can be used in a moderate winter environment, winter tires provide the best cold weather performance below 7°C. This includes wet and dry in addition to snow/ice/slush surfaces where greater tread flexibility leads to better grip
Loss of Pressure: Tires will lose pressure when the temperature gets colder. The general rule provided by tire manufacturers is 7kpa or 1psi drop for every 5 degree Celsius or Fahrenheit change, so measuring tire pressures year-round is vital.