Winter is here, is your car ready?

It’s important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter months. Here are some simple steps you can take to stay safe and keep your vehicle in good working order this winter.

Maintenance Check. Have your vehicle checked for any minor repairs that may be needed. Make sure your battery, brakes, lights, cooling and heating systems, electrical systems, and belts and hoses are all in good working order.  Since the colder weather can cause your vehicle’s oil to thicken, change the oil just prior to the winter months to help keep the oil flowing easily through your engine.

Keep the windshield clear. Make sure that your wiper fluid is full. Switch out your fluid for “winter” fluid. Winter fluid is designed for harsh winter weather and won’t freeze on your windshield.

When’s the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? Purchase winter wiper blades to cut through snow and ice instead of the regular ones that you would use throughout the year.

Check your tires.  Take a look at your trusty owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction while driving. The air pressure has most likely dropped as the weather has gotten colder, so it’s important to make sure everything is good.

Be sure to also check to see that your tire tread is not too low. Another option would be to swap out your regular tires for snow tires as they have deeper treads to keep you from slipping and sliding in snowy and icy weather.

Protect your Floor. Winter weather can get very messy. When you get in and out of your car after you've been walking through snow and slush, dirty, salt-infused water can build up on the floor of your car. You can prevent this weather damage by putting in all-weather, rubber floor mats. They're easy to install, and if they get dirty, it is easy to give them a rinse.

Have an Emergency Kit. Prepare for the unexpected. You never know when you might be stranded on the side of the road during a snowstorm. Include a few of the following necessities to help you stay warm, hydrated and safe: A flashlight, road flares, first-aid kit, a few blankets, a change of warm clothes, a radio, a bag of sand (for traction), an extra ice scraper, shovel and some snacks.