- Get engine driveability problems, like hard starts, rough idling and stalling, corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather will make existing problems worse.
- Replace dirty filters, including your air, fuel and PCV filters. Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual -; more often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
- Flush and refill your cooling system as recommended. Check the level, condition and concentration of the coolant periodically. Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.
Leave some jobs to the experts. A certified auto technician can check the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses. ASE-certified technicians pass strict tests to prove their expertise and wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia. For more information, visit www.ase.com.
- Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition. A failed heating system will leave passengers cold, while a broken defroster can dangerously reduce visibility.
- Hire a technician to check your battery. Only professional equipment can detect weak batteries. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves when cleaning off corrosion.
- Worn tires slip easily, making vehicles more likely to skid. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping, then check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks.
- Check tire pressure once a month. Let the tires "cool down" before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
- Have your vehicle's exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
- Keep a blanket, shovel, flares and some high-energy snacks in the vehicle just in case. And don't forget your cell phone.