5 ways to prepare your car for winter

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - As the last days of summer fade and fall begins to set in, it's time to prepare your car for colder, more hazardous weather. Getting a jump start on this task can help ensure your vehicle is in tip top shape.

Check your hoses, belts and fluids

Winter temperatures can be brutal on your car, so before winter winds howl and snow and ice start to accumulate on roadways, have a mechanic inspect hoses, belts and fluids. If you have a cracked hose or a worn belt, the frigid air just might be the final blow. Do yourself a favor and have your favorite mechanic look over your car on a pleasant fall day. A check up isn't that expensive and you'll thank yourself come January.

Fix paint blemishes and scratches

Winter temperatures in East Tennessee can apply a coat of rust to your shiny ride. If you want to keep rust from spreading, it's crucial that you repair the little scratches before winter begins. Paint blemishes, if they are left unrepaired, may not only make your car appear worn and old, but rust can spread. Fixing imperfections are not hard; auto parts stores sell touch-up paint. You can find your car's paint code on the driver's door pillar information label.

Wax or polish your car

Road salt is necessary to keep roads safe for drivers throughout the winter months, but that salt can wreak havoc on your car's exterior. A good coat of wax or polish can help protect your car. Concentrate on the lower parts of your car, such as behind the wheels, the quarter panels, and front grill where ice, snow and salt hit hard and stay the longest.

Change your wiper blades

A heavy snowfall is no time to suddenly remember that you meant to change your wiper blades back in September. It's easy to delay this task, and millions of people do just that. Worn wiper blades can smear snow and ice, putting your ability to see the road at risk. Many auto experts suggest changing your wiper blades both in the spring and the fall. Just stop by an auto parts store and tell the clerk the make and model of your car. It takes just a few seconds to snap them into place.

Check your tire pressure

Winter is the season when tires need to be at their best. So, have them checked now, long before bad weather suddenly appears, to ensure they have the proper tread. If the tires are in good shape, make sure they are properly inflated. Remember that cold weather causes tires to lose air more quickly, so check your pressure at least monthly

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