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Preparing for winter 101: Smart Car Care Tips for the Cold Months Ahead

(NC)-While driving in snow and ice may be an unavoidable part of life for many Canadians, taking a few simple precautions can help drivers stay in control when the weather isn't. According to the experts at Uniroyal Tire, following these easy car care tips could save you time and money while helping keep you safe:

. When the roads are covered, make sure you are as well with the proper tires for your vehicle. Winter tires such as the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Ice and Snow tire are specifically designed to increase traction in wintry conditions. Install them on all four wheels and avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns and wear.

. Make sure your tires have sufficient tread depth. Even if you live in an area with infrequent snow falls, you need to check the tread depth of your tires. Winter usually means more freezing rain, and proper tread depth is critical for providing the necessary traction in the slush. Ask your tire dealer to check the tread depth on all your tires and follow his advice. Tires that are getting worn down should be replaced before winter arrives.

. A recent survey conducted by Uniroyal found that most drivers have tires that are under inflated. A drop in outside temperature will mean a drop in the air pressure (PSI - pounds per square inch) in your tires. For every 5°C of temperature drop, tire pressure goes down by approximately one pound. Under inflation affects handling and can also cause your tires to wear faster. Check your air pressure monthly and maintain pressure at the vehicle manufacturer's recommended level, found in your owner's manual or inside the doorjamb.

. Check your vehicle's battery, fluid levels, defrosters and wipers to ensure that everything is in working order. Cold weather is especially hard on batteries. Have your battery checked to be sure all connections are clean and tight. Always keep the gas tank at least half-full to prepare for unexpected delays.

. Use a block heater in winter when the temperature drops to -20°C. A block heater keeps your engine oil and coolant warm, which makes the vehicle easier to start and can increase winter fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. (Use a timer to switch on the block heater one or two hours before you plan to drive).

. Visibility is crucial when driving in inclement conditions. Scrape ice and snow from every window and from exterior rear view mirrors. Also, brush snow off the hood, roof, trunk, turn signals, lights and fender walls of your vehicle.

. In case of emergency, stock your vehicle with a first-aid kit, flashlight -make sure your batteries are fully charged, blankets, jumper cables, warm clothes and gloves, food, bottled water, a bag of abrasive material (such as sand, salt or clay-based cat-litter) and a cell phone.

Visit www.uniroyal.ca to download "Preparing for Winter 101: 'Weather' You Stay or Fly Away," a free eBook that includes a broad range of money-saving tips for the winter, including helpful advice for Snowbirds as they prepare for their journey south.





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