With the temperature falling, morning frost, and snow in the mountains, we can no longer ignore the fact that winter is just around the corner.

According to AAA Washington, there are 10 simple steps every car owner should take in order to get themselves and their vehicle ready for winter.

  1. Replace your windshield wipers. In the Northwest, motorists should replace their front and back window wiper blades every six months. After the summer heat, wiper blades are often dried out and brittle, and won t clear the windshield adequately.
  2. Check your tire pressure. As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires. This can make for unsafe conditions and reduce fuel efficiency.
  3. Prepare a winter driving kit. This should include: food, water, flashlight with fresh batteries, small snow shovel and brush, traction mats, ice scraper, booster cables, warm blanket, flares or triangle warning devices, heavy gloves, window washing solvent and first aid kit.
  4. Check the level of your engine oil. Top off if you re low and have it changed based on the recommendation in your vehicle s owner s manual.
  5. Clean your battery terminals and check if it holds a charge. Wearing gloves and eye protection, use a solution of baking soda and water to loosen up corrosion and clean with a wire brush.
  6. Clean your windows and lights. Increase your safety by cleaning the windows inside and out, as well as your headlights and taillights.
  7. Check your lights. Make sure none of your light bulbs have burned out, including your emergency and interior lights.
  8. Make sure your gas cap seals. A loose gas cap can reduce your fuel efficiency and cause a warning light to turn on. A new one can be purchased at your local auto parts store.
  9. Consider buying chains or snow tires. If you don t have all-season tires and will likely have to drive in the snow this year, it s a good idea to purchase chains. You could also buy snow tires to ensure your car is ready for any snowfall.
  10. Read your vehicle s owner s manual. This guide will tell you when maintenance should be scheduled on your vehicle and the specs of your tire pressure, tire size, engine oil, etc.
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