Understanding how to winterize your vehicle is important when preparing for the cold months. This is a very small investment to make to make sure you have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown or getting into an accident during severe weather.

“No driver wants their vehicle to break down in cold, harsh winter weather, said Joseph Rubino, VP of the Claims Administration, of United Service Contract Group. “You can bring your vehicle to any service station for a quick check up to prepare for the cold weather, this is a very sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road in the cold needing to now deal with unexpected expenses of an emergency repair.”

Protect My Car suggests the following steps to winterize your vehicle:

1. Have the vehicle’s battery checked for optimum performance. Cold weather can be very hard on batteries.
2. Flush your put new antifreeze in the cooling system. This is a step that should be done every two years.
3. Put new winter wiper blades on your vehicle and be sure to use cold weather washer fluid. Your wiper blades should be replaced every six months (October and April). Make sure your vehicle’s heater and defrosters are working properly.
4. Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, with the temperature cooling and warming your tire pressure should be checked weekly.
5. Dirty oil can cause real trouble in winter. If you live in a cold weather region of the country consider changing to “winter weight” oil and be diligent about changing the oil and filter at the recommended mileage. While having your vehicle serviced ask your technician to check the fuel, air and transmission filters while you’re there.

Having your brakes checked? The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item especially when driving on frozen or wet roads.

Another important thing to have done prior to or during the onset of winter is having the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, this can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Keep your car protected during the winter months and take the time to properly winterize your vehicle.