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  • Writer's pictureWB Payne Insurance

Preparing Yourself and Your Vehicle for Winter Driving

From Progressive Insurance and WB Payne, Co., Inc. Insurance Professionals

Driving in ice and snow - sometimes in limited visibility - increases the challenge immensely. The following winter tips will help you navigate more safely when the going gets dicey, and will show you how to prepare your vehicle in advance to help avoid an extreme weather breakdown.

Maintenance & Preparation Tips

Keep The Tank Half Full

To avoid a fuel line freeze up that could strand you at the worst time - in frigid cold - always keep your gas tank at least half-full in the winter.

Fill Up On Antifreeze

Your vehicle's antifreeze level should be checked annually to ensure it's ready to withstand winter's cold. A mixture of coolant and water will protect against freezing - check your vehicle's manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Check Wipers And Washer Fluid

Blades work hard in the winter under tough circumstances. So before winter, replace wiper blades if they do not clear the windshield in a single swipe without streaking. Where appropriate, consider the use of special winter blades that offer improved performance in snow and ice conditions. Always fill the windshield washer reservoir with all-weather fluid to prevent freeze up. And since windshields can quickly get too dirty to see through in winter slush and mud, keep extra fluid in the trunk.

Maintain Safe Tire Pressure

Cold weather reduces tire inflation pressure. Be sure to maintain the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, which can be found on the driver's door jamb. Do not reduce tire pressure in an attempt to increase traction on snow or ice. It does not work, and when the roads dry out, it can cause vehicle handling problems and excessive wear and tear on tires.

Make Sure Your Battery Is Ready

If your battery is out of warranty, it's advisable to have it tested before cold weather hits. If replacement is necessary, have a certified technician help select the proper battery for your vehicle type and local climate. On any battery, look for a secure fit and clean away any corrosion on the battery and its cable connections.

Check Belts And Hoses

In the fall, it's a good idea to check - and replace as needed - any accessory drive belts that are cracked, glazed or frayed, as well as coolant hoses that are visibly worn, brittle, bulging or excessively soft It's also smart to check for leaks around hose clamps and at the radiator and water pump.

Pack A Small Snow Shovel

Snow shovels designed to pack neatly in your vehicle are widely available, and along with sand or ice melt, are prudent to have onboard.

Consider A Pre-Winter Check Up

For optimum safety and peace of mind, have a certified technician perform a winter preparation check that includes the vehicle's fluid levels, lights, brakes, exhaust system and heater/defroster. While there, you can also have the regular vehicle manufacturer recommended services, including oil and filter changes, performed.

W.B. Payne Co., Inc. Insurance Professionals | | 315-942-4434

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