The extreme cold that is settling in is hard on everything, especially your car. I'm saying a prayer each morning that mine starts and allows me to get to work! But there are some simple things you can do to make sure your vehicle is ready for the cold!

First of all, make sure your battery is fairly new. Experts recommend changing one every three years. If it's been that long, or longer, you might want to go have a new one thrown in. Also, avoid short trips. Give your car time to warm up while driving. A longer drive isn't nearly as hard on your alternator. Driving a longer distance will give the alternator a chance to fully recharge.

It might be a good time to check that serpentine belt in your car. It's the big one visible from the front of the engine. The visible side has grooves like a tire. If it's worn and cracked, the extreme cold could cause it to snap.

Fill those fluids! Make sure you have to proper blend of antifreeze for extremely cold temperatures. Make sure you have the winter blend of windshield wiper fluid. Check your oil. If it's due for a change, do it now and use a lower viscosity oil.

This is also a good time to check the air pressure in your tires. Extreme cold temperatures can cause fluctuation in your pressure levels. Fill to the recommended level and don't forget to check your spare too!

Finally, one somewhat controversial piece of advice. Don't overdo warming up your car. Sure, it's nice to have it all warm when you get inside, but your car doesn't need that long to get ready to drive. In extreme cold, most experts say to idle for just a minute or two before driving. Idling for 10 to 15 minutes can dilute the oil with unburned fuel and increase engine wear.



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