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On cold winter mornings, do not rev up
the engine after you start it.

Allow your engine to run at idle speed for a few minutes before
starting out, especially when it's below 10°F degrees.

Letting your car warm up for 1-2 minutes is sufficient.

Then drive moderately until it warms up.

Warming up the engine for more heat inside the car may be nice
for the driver, but it's hard on the engine.

Never use your wiper blades to remove ice, snow or frost from
the windshield; use an ice scraper instead.

Check Your Antifreeze:

Your antifreeze is an essential part of your car's winter protection.

This check should be done by removing the radiator cap from the
engine or reservoir.
Caution: Do not remove the pressure cap when engine is hot.
 If a refill is needed, fill with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.

<<< Warning >>>
Antifreeze/coolant is toxic to children and animals.

Inspect your Tires:

It is important to check your tires regularly.

The only way to determine proper tire pressure is to use an
accurate gauge.

Make sure you check air while the tires are cool
(when you haven't driven).

Even a short drive can make your tires too hot for accurate
pressure readings.

When the tires warm up, the air pressure
rises slightly, and can
give a false reading as to the actual tire pressure in the tires.

 Under inflated tires wastes fuel and over inflated tires can
be hazardous.

Your tires need extra attention during the winter.
Colder temperatures will cause tire pressure to drop about
1 psi for every 10°F drop in air temperature.

Check tire pressure regularly, especially after a sharp drop
in temperature.

Use the inflation pressure recommended by the car’s manufacturer,
not the maximum pressure embossed on the tire’s sidewall.

Check the sidewalls for cuts and bulges.
Don't worry about fine surface cracks.

Regularly inspect your tires for
irregular wear and sidewall bubbles.
Irregular wear is often caused by a worn or misaligned suspension,
improper inflation.

Sidewall bubbles are caused by a break in the sidewall and could
cause a blow-out.

Get your tires rotated and balanced, and your alignment checked.
Check with your mechanic about how often you should do this,
so your tires wear evenly and your car drives smoothly.
Your tires last much longer by getting them rotated and balanced.
Your alignment is just as important.

Do the penny test:
To tell if your tread is worn out is to insert the edge of a penny into
a groove, hold the penny so the top of Lincoln’s head is pointing
toward the tire's surface.
If the top of Lincoln’s head is still visible, the tread is too shallow
and it’s time for new tires.

Remember to check the air pressure in your spare tire.

Check your Wiper Blades:

Your windshield wipers play a significant role in keeping you safe,
especially during rain or snow storms.

Inspect your windshield wipers.
Is the rubber all one smooth piece or is it cracked, split, or broken
off in places?
If you see any imperfections in the rubber, that means it’s time for
new wiper blades.
The blade may also get a rounded look, which means it’s gotten too
old and you should replace it.

If you notice a consistent film of grime on your windshield, even after
you’ve sprayed fluid to clean it off, that’s a sign your wipers are dirty
and need to be replaced.
Sometimes wiping the blades with a paper towel will clear up this

The metal part of your wipers can get bent or damaged for a number
of reasons.
If the frame or the blade is bent, it won’t come into contact with
your windshield properly, and even if the blades seem to function
ok for now, they won’t be for long.
Time to replace them.

Before winter starts, get new wipers that are specially designed for
winter, even if your blades are functioning fine, now.
The ice and snow will damage regular wiper blades much faster
than those designed to withstand winter's fury.

Your windshield wipers are essential for driving safely because they
either improve or inhibit visibility.

They’re one of the easiest parts of your car to maintain.
Check your owner’s manual for the recommended length and
type of wipers that's best for your car.

Also, give your windshield a good cleaning inside and out, if it’s
hard to see, the problem may be inside, instead of out.

Check the Windshield
Washer Fluid:

This check should be done by removing the cap of the reservoir
and filling it with washer fluid.
Keep it full. It’s important to keep your windshield clean, especially
when there is sun glare.

Don't fill your washer fluid reservoir with anything except washer
Make sure you have an extra container of fluid in your car for
when you need it.

Check the Oil:

Most service attendants will offer to check your oil when the
engine is hot.
Some will even show you the dipstick to validate claim engine
needs oil.
(The oldest trick to sell you more oil.)
It is then overfull causing a smoky exhaust.

Always check on level ground when the engine is cold to give
accurate reading.
Remove the dipstick, wipe with a paper towel, reinsert the
dipstick completely in the tube.
Remove the dipstick and read oil level.
The dipstick should have a normal range indicated.

Add oil only when oil level is at or below Add Oil mark.
Be careful not to overfill.

Changing your oil is one of the most important things that that
you can do to improve the life of your engine.
You should change your oil every 3,000 miles or every 3 months.
7,000 to 10,000 miles on newer cars.

The best way to tell when you need to change your oil is to check
it regularly.
Fresh good oil is a clear golden color.
Once oil starts to wear and break down, it starts to become black

and thick and that causes wear and tear on the engine.

Make sure you use the correct oil weight for your car and


Check the antifreeze/coolant
level weekly.
Some cars have transparent reservoirs
with level markings.
This check should be done by removing
the radiator cap from
the cool engine or reservoir.

Caution: Do not remove the pressure cap when engine is hot.
 If a refill is needed, fill with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.

<<< Warning >>>
Antifreeze/coolant is toxic to children and animals.

Power Steering Fluid:

This check is done by removing and checking the dipstick.
Use the dipstick to check fluid level in the same way you would
the engine oil.
On newer vehicles, you can
visually check the reservoir.
If you hear weird noises as you steer, or find it hard to steer,
your power steering fluid may be running low.

Brake Fluid:

Usually in a clear reservoir marked with minimum and maximum lines.
The brake fluid is also part of a closed system and should never
run low.
This check is done by loosening the top on the master cylinder and
removing the lid.
If fluid is needed consult your owner's manual for correct type and
fill to recommended level.

Check color of fluid, it should be a golden color.
If the fluid appears brown, it is time to have the fluid replaced.
If your brakes ever feel a little off, check the brake fluid first.
Fill if it’s low, but then have the system checked, there could be
a leak or the brake pads may be wearing.

The brake fluid level will drop slightly as the brake pads wear out.
This is a normal condition and you shouldn't worry about it.
If the level drops noticeably over a short period of time or goes
down to about two thirds full, have your brakes checked as soon
as possible.

Take care when handling brake fluid.
It can damage the finish of a painted surface.

Service Brakes:

Brakes should be inspected at least twice a year.
The best times are just before summer and winter to prevent
problems in extreme temperatures.

* See link at the bottom of the page for more info on the
Service Brakes.

Check your Battery:

Make sure the engine is off before checking the battery.

Car batteries more than few years old may be too weak to make
it through the toughest Wisconsin winter weather and should be
tested in the fall.

Safety first!
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, Wear rubber gloves, battery acid
burns the skin and clothes, so be careful and if you get battery acid
on yourself or clothes, wash immediately.

Also protect your eyes by wearing Safety goggles whenever you
service your battery.

Visually check the car battery terminals.
(one is marked positive "+" and the other is marked negative "-")

<< Warning >>

Use extreme caution when handling a battery since it can produce
explosive gases.
Do not smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery and
always wear protective glasses and gloves.
Have it checked with every oil change.
Cables should be attached securely and be free of corrosion.

Before cleaning the connections or removing the battery, disconnect
the negative terminal first whenever you disconnect the battery cables
from the terminals.

If the battery terminals don't come off easily, use a battery puller tool
to take them off.
Do not use a screwdriver to pry the terminals off, because it can break
the battery post internal connections.

Removing the positive connector can cause a spark, especially if you're
using a metal tool that comes in contact with any piece of metal
on the car.
The spark can create an ignition source that could cause the battery
to explode.

Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them
if needed.

If corrosion is present, the connectors can be cleaned with a mix of
baking soda and water.

Most batteries these days don’t require much in the way of
but you should know where it is and check it to make
sure it’s not leaking and there’s no mineral or other buildup on
the contacts.
If there is, clean it off with a battery cleaning brush.


Inspect all lights including headlights, turn signals, brake lights
and emergency flashers ( 4-ways ).
Replace bulbs if they are burnt out.
Don't forget to also check all the reflectors.

Keep your lights and reflectors clean, especially during the winter.
Clear all snow and ice from your lights.

"Make Sure They See You."

Studies have shown that using your
headlights during the day can
help reduce accidents significantly.

Many newer cars are equipped with standard daytime running

Because a well lit car is a safer car.


Always keep the mirrors clean, lot of accidents happen just because
drivers don't see a car moving from behind while turning or changing
a lane.
Check mirrors adjusting before driving.

Winter driving Safety

Before you go, fully defrost your windows and brush snow from every
part of your vehicle, windows, mirrors, lights, and hood.

Don't use an ice scraper on anything else except the windows, scraping
ice or snow off painted surfaces is likely to damage the finish.

Clear all the lights off of snow and ice, which builds up in foul weather.
They are vital, more than ever when
visibility is poor.
LED lights especially accumulate snow and ice.
Keep everything clean, so you can be seen.

Keep your fuel tank filled:

It is recommended that you keep your gas tank at least half
full at all times during the winter.

Condensation of moisture in the air in the gas tank causes an
accumulation of water.
Because water is heavier than gas, it settles to the bottom of the
tank, entering the gas line and eventually working its way to the
lowest point in the fuel system.

Once the moisture freezes, the fuel flow is blocked and the engine
may not start.
In fuel injected cars, the fuel pump is located inside the gas tank.
Cooled by the gas that surrounds it, the pump can be damaged from
overheating when fuel level is too low.

It's better to have a full tank of gas in case of an emergency.

Also keep a bag of kitty litter in the trunk.
The extra weight will help increase the traction for your car.

Turn your lights on:

Turn your headlights on to improve visibility, even in light rain
or overcast conditions.
You may
be able to see others, but can they see you?
Never just assume.
It's also the Law in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin State Legislature implemented the Headlight Visibility
The law states drivers must turn on their headlights when weather
conditions limit visibility.


Slow down & Increase your
following distance:

At fault accidents are mostly due to excessive speed.

Driving at the speed limit may be legal, but is often too fast for
snow covered or icy road conditions.
Take as much time as necessary.

If you're running late, stay late.

Don't Tailgate & Increase your
following distance:

Make sure to keep a safe distance from other drivers.
Icy roads make stopping very difficult, so keeping a safe
distance from the vehicle in front of you will prevent any
rear-end collisions.

Slow down:

Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
Approach vehicles such as snowplows, salt or sand truck
with caution.

Stay well back from large trucks and buses.
If you can't see their mirrors, they can't see you.
If you have to pass, do it safely.

Don’t follow the tail lights of the vehicle ahead:
When it's snowing heavy, the visibility is low, seeing the tail lights
of the vehicle ahead means you're following too close.

Keep a safe driving distance back from the vehicle ahead,
at all times, especially in bad weather.
If the driver ahead of you should make an error, there's a
chance you will too.

Don’t follow the pack:

Following the pack can be dangerous.
You’ve heard the horror stories on the news of dozen(s) of car
pileups on an icy freeway.

Stay safe, stay out of the pack.

If you stall on a highway or busy road, turn on your
four-way flashers to alert others and move away from
your vehicle.

Don’t stop on the shoulder of the road.
Especially in low visibility situations.
When driving in winter, especially ‘blinding snow’, other vehicles
can mistake your position for being on the road and as a result,
may slam into the back of your car.

If you have to for some reason, turn on your four-way flashers to
alert others.

Wear a Yellow Reflective Safety vest.

You can easily find these vests at your local Walmart,
Home Improvement store, and also available
on Amazon.

Pack a Winter Safety Kit:

 Basic first aid kit

Emergency phone numbers
(roadside assistance, etc.)

Flashlight (with spare batteries)

Car cell phone charger

Road flares and reflective triangles

Jumper cables

Duct tape

Gloves and a blanket

Yellow Reflective Safety vests

Bottled water

Energy snacks

Paper towels

Reading material such as a book
or magazine

Extra packs of cigarettes if you smoke

Portable radio with spare batteries

Ice scraper & snow brush

Small shovel and a bag of kitty litter
or rock salt


Use the candles at night to light your location and provide
some heat in the car between running your engine/heater.

Remember safety first when using candles in the car.

It's very important that make yourself and your car highly visible.

This is a good time to put on your yellow reflective safety vest,
lift the hood of your car and put on your 4-ways.

Set up your reflective triangles or flares to warn oncoming

  For More About Brakes: