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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
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
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.
Your antifreeze is an essential part of your
car's winter protection.
This check should be done by removing the radiator cap from the
cool engine or
not remove the pressure cap when engine is hot.
If a refill is needed, fill with a 50/50 mix of water
Antifreeze/coolant is toxic to children and animals.
Inspect your Tires:
It is important to check your tires
only way to determine proper tire pressure is to use an
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
When the tires warm up, the air pressure rises slightly, and can
give a false reading as to the actual tire pressure in the
Under inflated tires wastes fuel and over inflated
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
Use the inflation pressure recommended by the car’s
not the maximum pressure embossed on the tire’s
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
or 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
Your alignment is just as important.
Do the penny
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
toward the tire's surface.
If the top of Lincoln’s head is still visible, the tread is
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,
off in places?
If you see any imperfections in the rubber, that means it’s
new wiper blades.
The blade may also get a rounded look, which means it’s
old and you should replace it.
If you notice a consistent film of grime on your windshield,
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
The metal part of your wipers can get bent or damaged for a
If the frame or the blade is bent, it won’t come into
your windshield properly, and even if the blades seem to
ok for now, they won’t be for long.
Time to replace them.
Before winter starts, get new wipers that are specially
winter, even if your blades are functioning fine, now.
The ice and snow will damage regular wiper blades much
than those designed to withstand winter's fury.
Your windshield wipers are essential for driving safely
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.
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
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
when you need it.
Check the Oil:
service attendants will offer to check your oil when the
engine is hot.
Some will even show you the dipstick to validate claim
(The oldest trick to sell you more oil.)
It is then overfull causing a smoky exhaust.
check on level ground when the engine is cold to give
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
7,000 to 10,000 miles on newer cars.
The best way to
tell when you need to change your oil is to check
Fresh good oil is a clear golden
Once oil starts to wear and break down, it starts to
and thick and that causes wear and tear on the engine.
sure you use the correct oil weight for your
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
<<< 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
the engine oil.
On newer vehicles, you can visually check the
If you hear weird noises as you steer, or find it hard
your power steering fluid may be running low.
Usually in a clear reservoir marked with
minimum and maximum lines.
The brake fluid is also part of a closed
system and should never
This check is done by loosening the top on the master
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
If the fluid appears brown,
it is time to have the fluid replaced.
If your brakes ever feel a little off, check the brake
Fill if it’s low, but then have the system checked,
there could be
a leak or the brake pads may be wearing.
brake fluid level will drop slightly as the brake pads
This is a normal condition and you shouldn't worry
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
Take care when handling
It can damage the finish of a painted surface.
should be inspected at least twice a year.
The best times are just before summer and winter to
problems in extreme temperatures.
* See link at the bottom of
the page for more info on the
Make sure the
engine is off before checking the battery.
batteries more than few years old may be too weak to make
it through the toughest Wisconsin winter weather and
tested in the fall.
If you are a
do-it-yourselfer, Wear rubber gloves,
burns the skin and clothes, so be careful and if you
get battery acid
on yourself or clothes, wash immediately.
protect your eyes by wearing Safety goggles
service your battery.
check the car battery terminals.
(one is marked positive "+" and the other is marked
<< Warning >>
Use extreme caution when
handling a battery since it can produce
Do not smoke, create a spark or light a match near a
always wear protective glasses and gloves.
Have it checked with every oil change.
Cables should be attached securely and be free of corrosion.
the connections or removing the battery, disconnect
the negative terminal first whenever you disconnect
the battery cables
from the terminals.
battery terminals don't come off easily, use a battery
to take them off.
Do not use a screwdriver to pry the terminals off,
because it can break
the battery post internal connections.
the positive connector can cause a spark, especially if
Check battery cables and
posts for corrosion and clean them
using a metal tool that comes in contact with any piece of
on the car.
The spark can create an ignition source that could cause the
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
maintenance, but you should know where it is and
check it to make
sure it’s not leaking and there’s no mineral or other
If there is, clean it off with a battery cleaning brush.
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
Clear all snow and ice from your lights.
"Make Sure They See You."
Studies have shown that using your headlights during the day
help reduce accidents significantly.
Many newer cars are equipped with standard
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
Check mirrors adjusting before driving.
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
ice or snow off painted surfaces is likely to damage the
Clear all the lights off of snow and ice, which builds up in
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.
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
accumulation of water.
Because water is heavier than gas, it settles to the bottom
tank, entering the gas line and eventually working its way
lowest point in the fuel system.
Once the moisture freezes, the fuel flow is blocked and the
may not start.
In fuel injected cars, the fuel pump is located inside the
Cooled by the gas that surrounds it, the pump can be damaged
overheating when fuel level is too low.
It's better to have a full tank of gas in case of an
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
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
The law states drivers must turn on their
headlights when weather
conditions limit visibility.
Slow down & Increase
At fault accidents are mostly due to
Driving at the speed limit may be legal, but is often too
snow covered or icy road conditions.
Take as much time as necessary.
If you're running late, stay late.
Don't Tailgate & Increase your
Make sure to keep a safe distance from other
Icy roads make stopping very difficult, so keeping a safe
distance from the vehicle in front of you will prevent any
Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on
Approach vehicles such as snowplows, salt or sand trucks
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
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.
Following the pack can be dangerous.
You’ve heard the horror stories on the news of dozen(s) of
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
Don’t stop on the shoulder of
Especially in low visibility situations.
When driving in winter, especially ‘blinding snow’, other
can mistake your position for being on the road and as a
may slam into the back of your car.
If you have to for some reason, turn on
your four-way flashers to
Wear a Yellow Reflective Safety vest.
You can easily find these vests at your local Walmart,
Home Improvement store, and also available
Winter Safety Kit:
Basic first aid kit
Emergency phone numbers
(roadside assistance, etc.)
Flashlight (with spare
Car cell phone charger
Road flares and reflective
Gloves and a blanket
Yellow Reflective Safety
Reading material such as a book
Extra packs of cigarettes if you
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
some heat in the car between running your engine/heater.
Remember safety first when using candles in the car.
important that make yourself and your car highly visible.
This is a good time to put on your yellow reflective safety
lift the hood of your car and put on your 4-ways.
Set up your reflective triangles or flares to
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