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Winterize Your Life: Car

Cold weather is here, and it's important to make sure your car is as ready as you are.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — If you’re not prepared, it can be dangerous driving in Minnesota during the winter. If you don’t winterize your car, you risk mechanical trouble or an accident on the ice or in snowy conditions. Here are a few things Branden Lewis, Manager of Golden Valley Tire, suggests to keep safe on the road.

Tires: Make sure your tires are in good condition, or get some snow tires. Generally in Minnesota the guidelines for snow tires are to have them on from November 15 to April 15, or when it is an average of 40 degrees or less. An easy way to check the wear on your current tires is with some pocket change. Place a quarter into the tire's grove with George Washington’s head facing downward. If you see the top of his head, then the tires are worn, and replacement should be considered. 

Check Tire Pressure: It drops 1 psi for every 10-degree drop in Fahrenheit. Make it a weekly habit to check your tire pressure, especially if your car is older and does not have a dashboard alert warning.

Battery: Most winterizing happens under the hood. Lewis recommends getting to a shop to test your car's battery. Most people don’t realize the hot summers take a toll on your battery, so get it tested before winter to prevent you from getting stranded in winter conditions.

Windshield Washer Fluid: Make sure you have enough windshield-washer fluid so you can wash away the road salt that impairs visibility. Also, make sure the fluid you use has a low enough freezing point for the frigid Minnesota winter. Then check the cooling system and make sure the fluid is at the full mark. 

Wiper Blades: Don’t wait till you’re on the road and the blades are smearing and not clearing the windshield. To check to see if the blade needs to be replaced, peel up the end of the blade to see if the rubber is torn on the edges. If it is, it's time for new wiper blades. 

Emergency Roadside Safety Kit: Suggested items include a first aid kit, jumper cables, tire patch kit, blankets, water, flashlight and a phone charger. It’s also a good idea to keep a wool hat, some gloves, an ice scraper and a snack in the trunk, just in case you get stuck in the cold.

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