Tips and "Winter Readiness Guide" help motorists winterize vehicles in preparation for upcoming travel


driving in winter (select to view enlarged photo)

MEMPHIS, TN--Dec. 18, 2013: As winter approaches and many gear up for the holiday travel season, AutoZone presents some tips for basic vehicle maintenance to get travelers through the ice and snow safely and reliably. Winter weather brings reduced sunlight and poor road conditions, and acting on the following tips will help ensure safe travel:

Maintenance

Windshield wipers & fluid – Windshield wiper blades work effectively for one year at most, and should be replaced every six months. It's best to invest in new blades when they become cracked, cut, torn or begin streaking. Motorists should check the windshield washer fluid reservoir to ensure it is full of washer fluid. This shouldn't be refilled with water, because water freezes in cooler months. Look for de-icer washer fluid at AutoZone to help break through snow and ice. Headlights – Winter means shorter days, and headlights see more use than any other time of the year. This is the best time to replace dimming headlights before they burn out and become dangerous. Tire pressure – It's very important to check tire pressure when temperatures drop. Tires must be properly inflated to maintain good driving traction, which is sometimes jeopardized in snowy, icy or even wet conditions. Check the owner's manual for target tire pressure. Tires should also have adequate tread depth, which can be measured by a depth gauge. Paint & glass – A waxing coat acts as a deflector of snow and ice. It makes snow and ice easier to brush off and protects paint from the corrosive effects of road salt. Windows should be kept clean for maximum visibility, and a water repellent will help prevent water from sticking and freezing.

Inspection

Oil check – Oil sometimes thickens as it gets colder, and it can't lubricate an engine properly if it is too cool. A vehicle owner's manual can provide guidance on which oil to use in different climates and temperatures. Battery power – This is an ideal time of year to ensure a battery's posts and connections are corrosion-free. The best news? AutoZone performs battery checks for free, so stop by and have it tested. No one wants to get caught in a blizzard with a dead battery! This service is in store only in California. Antifreeze – Motorists should try to have a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside their radiators. This mix will help prevent freezing even in outrageously cold temperatures. Mixtures can be checked with an inexpensive antifreeze coolant tester from AutoZone. Antifreeze should also be disposed properly – local authorities will know which fluids are part of a local recycling program. Four-wheel drive – Now is a good time to ensure it's working properly – especially since the cold climates are more likely to call for its use. Check to see that the system engages and disengages easily and that all household drivers know how and when to use it.

"We hope drivers will consider these 'winterizing' tips this holiday season to help ensure safety on the road," said Al Saltiel, Senior Vice President-Marketing at AutoZone. "We know that more Americans are maintaining their own vehicles, and we're happy to share our DIY tips for car maintenance and inspections that can be performed at home."

In addition to these pre-season tips, the AutoZone Winter Readiness Guide provides safe winter driving practices, emergency kit preparation tips and common winter driving recommendations. Readers will discover what to do if stuck on the road and identify which items to include in their emergency travel kits.

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