Winter car tips from The Car Coach

Trusted car expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, offers tips on cold weather preparation and how to clear the hurdles of cold weather and safety tips plus know when it's time to buy a new vehicle.

- This information is courtesy of The Car Care Council (non-profit) and sponsored by Continental Tire, SaviCorp, Inc., and other automotive companies. 

The change of seasons is a good time to check your car's various systems to see if they're working properly. Cold weather could make any current problems much worse. The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. Taking care of these problems before they amplify could save as much as $1200/ year.

VIDEOS: Trusted car expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, offers tips on cold weather preparation and how to clear the hurdles of cold weather and safety tips plus know when it's time to buy a new vehicle.
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Heating, Wipers & Lights
- Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.  As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months. 
- Check to see that all exterior lights work and headlights are working. 

Tires & Brakes
- During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly. Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. If you drive on snow and ice at least 3 times a season, purchase winter tires for the safest way to travel. The WinterContact SI (Snow and Ice) is Continental's Studless Ice & Snow winter / snow tire developed for the drivers of cars, minivans and crossover vehicles. Designed to operate in slippery wintry weather conditions, the tires enhance traction on cold, wet, snow-covered and icy roads. It's worth the investment.
- Winter tires are like snow boots and offer the best traction.
- Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle's most important safety item.

Clearing Emissions
- If your current vehicle won't pass the emissions test without a major repair, the solution is here. The DynoValve, the small part will not only allow you to pass the emissions test; it also offers environmental benefits including reduction in harmful emissions like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons which also improves your fuel economy, typical increase in MPG range from 5-15%+. 
- Check engine lights can be a sign of engine or emissions issues that should be addressed. This can reduce your engine life and increase maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. 
- Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.
- Have an ASE Certified technician check your vehicle before the temperatures dip.  

Buying a New Car
- When buying or leasing a new vehicle it's important to look for something that meets your needs.
- There are times where it makes sense to look for a new car if the repair costs are more than the cost of the vehicle. 

Pack the Essentials
- Make sure that your ice scraper, heat packs and a snow brush is accessible and ready to use.
- Stock an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.
- The secret to a safe winter is to "See and be seen."


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