CAR TIPS: 5 ways preventative maintenance can keep the cold from causing hazards

CLEVELAND - As the cold temperatures settle in, car experts say it’s important to keep an eye on your car and keep up on preventative maintenance.

#1) Watch your tire pressure.

“When the weather starts to change is when everyone starts to look at their tires,” said Sam Jakabcic, regional manager of Conrad’s Tire Express and Total Car Care.

Low temperatures can deflate tires. Jakabcic reminds drivers to check their vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month. Proper pressure can be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

#2) Change your anti-freeze and have the cooling system pressure-tested.

Your engine needs a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water to protect it from freezing in the cold and boiling over when it's warm. It's a cheap and easy step that'll help keep your expensive engine running smoothly.

While you're at it, have your cooling system pressure-tested, which most auto shops do for a small fee. That will help find a minor leak before it becomes a massive expense.

#3) Check your car battery and cables.

Corroded car batteries can also be bad news for your car.

“You can check where the cable connects to the battery and you can see where there’s an indication of corrosion,” said Jakabcic.

Corrosion is a yellow or blue substance that builds up along the battery’s terminals and can cause your battery to stop working properly.

#4) Replace your windshield wipers.

“Bad windshield wiper blades can be a hazard, especially if you’re traveling, and it’s a snowy day and you have debris on your windshield,” said Robert Ross of AAA.

Conrad’s suggests that you run your finger along the wiper blade. If you feel any cuts or see where the rubber has separated from the rest of the blade, you may not be able to clear your windshield properly and need new blades.

#5) Keep your washer fluid tank full.

Remember to stay stocked with washer fluid that uses anti-freeze properties to make it easy to keep your windshield clear.

Bonus: If you’re taking to the roads over the holidays, don’t ignore any warning signs on your dashboard. Take your car in for service.

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