As the 2010/11 ski season begins, you and your family might be thinking of a trip to Lake Tahoe. Here are some suggestions for winterizing your car:
Perform routine servicing on your car before your trip.
Flush the cooling system and replace the coolant.
Replace the windshield wiper blades (wipers that work well are more important, in the snow, than some realize.)
Put windshield washer fluid, not water, in the windshield washer reservoir (plain water will freeze, so don't us that).
Have the battery serviced (clean the battery terminal ends and add water) and load-tested to check its ability to hold a charge. If the battery is old, replace it.
Use a tire gauge to check the tire pressure. Air contracts in cold weather; your tires will loose pressure in freezing temperatures.
Make sure there is air in the spare tire and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in the trunk.
Make sure the tires are in good condition.
You are likely to need snow tires, together with all wheel drive (or snow chains). If you'll be using chains, it's a good idea to buy them before you leave home. They're likely to cost less than what you would buy on the road, and you'll have a chance to familiarize yourself with how to put them on.
Check the lights, heater and defroster. Each are vital to safe driving in the snow.
Keep the gas tank as full as possible to prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines. In addition, there's really nothing more frustrating than looking for a gas station in a snow storm, with a low tank of gas.
Get your brakes checked.
Put together an emergency winter kit for the trunk of your car: flares, blanket, extra boots, energy bars, waterproof gloves, water-proof pants, ice scraper, small snow shovel, flashlight and kitty litter (for traction when stuck in the snow).
Keep your cell phone charged.
Make sure your AAA card is in your wallet.
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