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Winter Survival Tips

Ahhh -- Morning has a nip to it and frost adorns the grass, making it glisten as if it has tinsel on it. The trees have shed their leaves and yes, ladies and gentlemen, winter is upon us. Soon the heavens will adorn the landscape with its frosty white dew. You say, enough with the poetry Tom, I agree, let's talk about getting my vehicles ready for winter!

Here are some timely tips:

  • Check wiper operation and blade condition. If your wipers are skipping across the windshield, it could be due to one of three things:

    1. Worn wiper blades
    2. Worn wiper tensioner arm
    3. Oil or grease film on the windshield
  • Make sure all maintenance is current -- oil and filter change, transmission service, cooling system service.

  • Make sure that all belts and hoses are in good condition.

  • Have a cooling system checkup. This includes protection check: -30 degrees is ideal, pressure test for leaks, inspect the radiator and all hose connections (repair or replace these components as necessary).

  • Inspect the brakes, steering, drivetrain, and suspension, repair anything questionable. Replace any torn protective rubber boots, as these will allow contamination from the environment causing loss of lubrication, high friction to occur, and thus premature failure of the component.

  • Check tire condition, making sure that there is adequate tread. This, of course, is necessary for traction in inclement weather conditions.

    Here are some helpful ideas for a winter survival kit:

    • Jumper cables for that occasional dead battery

    • A piece of colorful cloth to attach to the antenna to draw attention to your car in heavy snow

    • A shovel to dig out of drifts

    • A whistle to signal for help

    • Tow chains or cables to tow the car out of drifts

    • A flashlight with fresh batteries

    • Traction materials such as kitty litter, sand, rock salt, or traction mats which help to provide traction on slippery surfaces

    • First-aid kit in case of emergencies

    • Extra clothing or a blanket to keep warm while waiting for help

    • Non-spoiling foods -- such as granola, candy bars or dried fruits and nuts -- to prolong your body's ability to generate heat in the event of being stranded for a long period of time

    Phew! That should do it! Now you're ready to conquer uncharted lands to the north or that unexpected blizzard that has been known to visit western New York!