Winterizing your car: Am I doing this right?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – The lake effect snow is right around the corner and that means it's time to get your car ready for a long winter.

You're trying to get Thanksgiving dinner ready and shop for the holidays – we know you're busy, but you can't put off winterizing your car much longer.

Andy Fiffick, CEO and President of Rad Air Complete Car Care, has five simple tips to keep your car up and running throughout the winter.

  • Check your windshield wipers

It's often out of sight, out of mind, but your windshield wipers can make or break your car when toughing it through a Northeast Ohio winter. "Nobody thinks about their wiper blades until they need them," said Fiffick.  "And when they don't need them they forget about them. The easiest thing to do on a car is pull the wiper blade up and take a look at it. If you see it's [starting] to come apart – it's time a new one."

  • Make sure you have winter wiper fluid (Yes, there’s a difference)

Now that your wiper blades are up and running, you need to make sure the wiper fluid actually works when you need it. Fiffick said winter wiper fluid is a must. He pointed out if you buy wiper fluid in May and fill up your reservoir, the year-round fluid will freeze when its time to use it during winter. Those wiper fluids freeze if its colder than 20 degrees. Winter wiper fluid on the other hand will work even if its 27 degrees below zero.

  • Check your lights (all of them)

Fiffick calls this tip "see and be seen."

"Check all of the lights in the entire vehicle. You want the lights in the back to work so someone can see you when they're following you. You want the lights in the front to work so you can see where you're going," he said.

  • Make sure those tires aren’t worn out

If you have bald tires you'll be slipping and sliding all over those side streets.

Check your tire threading to make sure you have enough traction and grip to stop when you need to. The penny test is still the best and easiest method to check, Fiffick said.

  • How does it work?

Place the penny head first into the tire treads. If you always see the top of Abe's head it's time for new tires.

  • Checks your belts and hoses

You can easily pop the hood up yourself and check for large cracks in your belts and hoses, if you see any that's a red flag.

But if you're not brave enough to get under the hood, these are items that will be checked if you take your car in for routine inspections.

Click here for more information on how to get your car ready for winter or general service questions.

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