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As the Official Winter Season Blows In, Parts Dealer Offers Car Care Tips for Safe Driving

PHILADELPHIA--Dec. 1, 20039, 2003--The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack , the nation's leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, reminds motorists to be prepared for the winter season, which formally begins on December 22. Because winter weather can take a toll on your car, be sure to seek the proper preventive maintenance, and also stock up on products and accessories that help make winter driving safer and easier. Visit your local Pep Boys store for the widest variety of automotive and travel merchandise, as well as dealer-quality service at the best prices. Log on to to find a store near you and to learn about Pep Boys' safe and affordable towing services.
    Here's a checklist of things you can do to prepare for the winter

    1.  Ice scrapers and snow brushes should be kept in the house if 
        an overnight storm is predicted. This will allow you to remove
        snow and ice before having to open the car doors or trunk.
        Keep a spare ice scraper in the car as well.

    2.  Window and lock de-icer should also be kept in the house.
        Keeping additional de-icers at work is also a good idea.

    3.  Windshield wiper blades should be capable of completely
        clearing the windshield in three swipes. Replace the blades if
        cleaning the edge of the blade doesn't help. Winter-type
        blades prevent snow from jamming in the blade's center and are
        best when you anticipate driving in snow and icy weather.

    4.  Washer fluid should be topped off frequently. Don't wait until
        you run out of fluid and the windshield is covered with salt
        or sandy residue. Have the defroster on with the heat to keep
        the fluid from freezing on the windshield in extreme cold.

    5.  Inside window surfaces must be extra clean to reduce surface
        fog formation and to speed the defogging process. Your air
        conditioning system typically runs with your heater to
        dehumidify the cabin for quicker defogging of all windows.
        Have your professional service provider check your systems to
        ensure proper operation.

    6.  Engine coolant or antifreeze must be tested to ensure freeze
        protection to at least (-30) degrees Fahrenheit. If it looks
        rusty or has been there for more than two years, change the
        antifreeze to restore the freeze protection, rust inhibitors
        and water pump lubricant. A professional coolant flush will
        not only restore these important features but will also help
        to remove any harmful grit that could cause premature water
        pump failure. While you're looking at the cooling system,
        check the belts and hoses to make certain they are in good
        shape and will last the season.

    7.  Engine oil should always be changed according to 
        manufacturers' recommended intervals. If you drive in severe 
        conditions such as extremely cold climates or dusty conditions
        or in towing trailers, you may want to consider changing your 
        oil as often as every 3,000 miles. As winter approaches, the 
        oil's viscosity (thickness) is very important. Oil that does 
        not have multiple weights in its thickness rating (i.e. 
        10W-30) might make the engine crank too slow to start. Check 
        your owner's manual for the recommended viscosity and type of 
        oil for the coldest temperature expected in your region.

    8.  Automotive transmission fluid should register full on the
        dipstick, not leaking, and should not have a brown, burnt
        appearance, or an odor. Transmissions get a workout when a
        vehicle gets stuck in the snow. If the manufacturer's
        recommended transmission fluid change is near, have it done as
        a preventive measure.

    9.  Lights, including high beams, turn signals, and brake lights,
        must be in working condition, and headlights must be aimed
        correctly. Keep the lights clean for maximum visibility.

    10. Tire treads must have a minimum of 2/32" depth in every
        groove. An easy way to check this is to use the "penny test":
        stick a penny face up in the tread; if you can still see the
        top of Lincoln's head, then the tire should be changed. If the
        tread is wearing differently between the edges and the middle
        tread, check the tire pressure. If one side is wearing more
        than the other, it's time for a wheel alignment. The deeper
        the tread grooves, the better the traction in snow and the
        higher the resistance to hydroplaning in water. Tire chains
        are helpful in deep snowy conditions. Check local ordinances
        regarding the use.

    11. Brakes should be inspected at least twice a year or sooner if
        you suspect that something is wrong. The best times are just
        before winter and summer to prevent problems in extreme

    12. Have the exhaust system inspected before winter. Exhaust
        system leaks can be lethal if you are stuck on ice or snow and
        the engine is running.

    13. Check ups of car batteries and the charging and starting
        systems should take place before winter. Rear window defoggers
        and lights and accessories put a drain on your charging and
        starting systems, and winter is a particularly stressful

    14. Tune up an engine that is not running perfectly. Otherwise, it
        will be harder to start during the winter, and breakdowns can
        be dangerous. Have any problems diagnosed and repaired before
        the onset of winter.

    15. An emergency kit should include battery jumper cables, a
        flashlight, matches, and a "Help" sign. In colder climates,
        include a candle, winter blanket, high-energy snacks, shovel,
        and kitty litter or sand for traction. And don't forget that
        cell phone!