Now is the time to prepare your vehicle for cold weather

It's always best to just stay home if it's snowing or there are icy conditions on the roads

Winter weather can always prove to be challenging for drivers, so it's essential to prepare your vehicle now for when temperatures drop and snow piles up to ensure you get to your final destination safely.

Here's what to keep in your car in case you get stuck | Don't leave any of these items in your car this winter

The American Automobile Association recommends the following for getting your car ready for the changing conditions:

Emergency roadside kit

Always have an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes basic tools, sand or non-clumping cat litter for traction, jumper cables, a shovel, flashlight and gloves.

Battery

AAA says if your car battery is more than three years old, you should have it tested. Your battery needs to be fully charged to start up your vehicle during frigid temperatures.

Tires

Tires lose one PSI of pressure every 10 degrees that the temperature drops, so proper tire inflation is critical. Underinflated tires can overheat and cause a blowout. Be sure to check your tires frequently for tread depth and uneven wear. Increased tread depth will increase your traction with the road during poor winter weather conditions and help prevent skidding on icy or wet roads.

Coolant

Make sure to check coolant levels in your vehicle's overflow tank when the engine is cold. You're also reminded to check the cooling system hoses for any leaks, cracks or loose clamps.

Oil

Drivers should already change the oil based on their vehicle's manufacturer's recommendations. AAA says synthetic oil can also be an advantage in cold weather because it will allow your vehicle to start faster.

Wipers

Be sure to replace your vehicle's wipers if they don't adequately clean the windshield. Here's a tip: Wrap wipers in plastic bags before a snow or ice storm to prevent them from becoming damaged and stuck to the windshield. 

Driving

If it's snowing or icy, it's best to stay home. But if you do need to travel, drive slowly and leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Never use cruise control in winter weather conditions, and be sure to use your gas pedal and brake pedal gently.

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