* Correct any engine problems you've noticed. Hard starts, rough idling, stalling and diminished power can go from being a problem to a disaster in cold weather.
* Check your engine coolant. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked and replaced if old. Replace coolant with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water.
* Check your belts. Take your car to a professional technician to check the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses.
* Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual.
* Be sure your heater and defroster are in good working order both for your comfort and visibility.
* Check your battery. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment, however, any weekender can scrape corrosion from posts and cable connections, clean surfaces and re-tighten connections. Be sure to wear eye protection and rubber gloves for safety.
* Check for exhaust leaks. Inspect the trunk and floorboards of your vehicle for small holes, which could emit deadly exhaust fumes.
* Check your tread. Worn tires are of little use amid the winter elements. Replace them with all-season radials or snow tires, depending on your climate.
* Replace worn windshield wipers and keep plenty of washer fluid on hand.
* Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line.
For more car care tips from ASE, founded in 1972 to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals, visit www.ase.com.