2. Achieve anti-freeze: Check your anti-freeze for proper strength-it should be good to -35 degrees Celsius. Buy only ethylene glycol-based fluid with low freezing and high boiling points, and replace it every two years or 30,000 miles.
3. Fluid mechanics: Check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommended winter oil rating. A 10W-30 weight works for everything short of arctic or alpine winter conditions. Keep your reservoir full with winter washer fluid-a solvent that is good to 10 degrees below zero and be sure your transmission fluid is clean.
4. Wipers, belts and hoses, oh my: Replace your wipers, especially for night driving and encounters with rain, sleet and snow. Check all belts and hoses; cracked, frayed or worn rubber may not make it through the winter.
5. Check your tires: Take a long look at your tread. Driving in colder conditions and on icy, snowy roads requires as much traction as your tires can deliver. Replace them if you see worn tread or sidewall damage.
6. Get a charge from battery, electrical system: Check your battery and charging system. Fall and winter driving requires more power from your battery, so consider buying a stronger, heftier battery.
7. Winter emergency kit: Keep these must-have items in your trunk: heavy duty jumper cables, flashlight, emergency flares, ice scraper, snow brush, small shovel, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter), blanket, gloves, heavy socks, winter boots and tire chains for snowy areas.
8. Keep your gas tank full: Always maintain a full gas tank; if you get stranded or stuck in gridlock, your engine is your only source of heat.
9. Double-check rear window defroster: If some of the lines don't work, they can be repaired.
10. Plan your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early), be familiar with map/directions and let others know your route and arrival time.
AutoVantage offers car-care savings from 5 to 20 percent off sales and regular rates at some 19,000 service locations, including participating AAMCO, Jiffy Lube, Meineke and American Car Care Center locations. Trip routing for maps and door-to-door driving directions across the U.S. is also included.
Belts and hoses should be checked before the weather gets too cold.
Membership in AutoVantage (http://www.autovantage.com or 1-800-876-7787) begins with a month-long trial that costs $1 and can be canceled anytime during the trial period. Unless you call toll free (1-800-876-7787) to cancel during your $1 trial period, your privileges will automatically continue for an additional 11 months at the $99.99 annual membership fee, and will renew upon expiration at the then-current year's fee and be automatically billed to the credit card you provide without your having to do anything further. Your satisfaction is important. You can call toll free to cancel at any time for a refund of the unused portion of your then-current year's fee, no matter how much money you've saved. Trilegiant Corporation, (www.trilegiant.com) a leader in the membership services and loyalty businesses, offers AutoVantage. With Progeny Marketing Innovations, Trilegiant is now part of the Cendant Marketing Group.