• Kick the Tires
As temperatures fluctuate, tire pressure can change. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated; low pressure can increase wear and fuel consumption, but overinflating can reduce traction in slippery conditions. "If you're not a do-it-yourselfer, many repair shops will check your tire pressure and adjust it as needed for free or very little cost," said MacPherson. It's also important to inspect your tire's tread and replace any balding tires before the roads get slick.
• Slow Down for Warm-up
Instead of hopping into your cold vehicle and quickly starting and driving away, let your car warm up for about 30-60 seconds to ensure that your motor oil has time to flow properly. According to MacPherson, a good synthetic motor oil, like Mobil 1, is designed to flow quickly in lower temperatures and protects critical engine parts in every season.
• Increase Visibility
If your windshield wipers are worn down or smearing instead of clearing, it's a good idea to replace them before frost, freezing rain or snow stresses them more. Before winter weather hits, make sure you've got an ice scraper handy to clear off windows. "And don't forget to scrape headlights and taillights, too, so that other drivers can see you better on the road," suggests MacPherson.
• Pop the Trunk
Prepare ahead of time for unexpected problems that can happen on the road. MacPherson suggests that you pack essential items in your trunk to help you weather the wait if your vehicle breaks down, gets stuck or is involved in an accident. "It's a good idea to keep a blanket, gloves, hat and small shovel handy," said MacPherson. "Jumper cables are also great to have in case a dead battery keeps you or a fellow driver out in the cold."
By thinking ahead and preparing your vehicle for winter-weather driving now, you can save yourself from being left out in the cold this season.