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Winterize your vehicle before the holidays

By: Bob Browand

Another semester is quickly coming to an end. While studying for final exams, finishing end of semester projects and packing up to go home for the holidays, it’s important that students, especially those travelling back to much cooler climates for the coming break, take the time to properly prepare their vehicles for not only the trek but also the colder climate that awaits.

We here in Houston don’t typically have to worry much about the harsh weather that our neighbors to the north deal with year after year during this time of year, so it’s easy to overlook the prep work that’s necessary to “winterize” your vehicle. Luckily, the folks with Consumer Reports have put together a sort of winter prep checklist for people whose vehicles will be exposed to the harsh elements of the season.

Here’s three big takeaways to keep in mind before hitting the road this holiday season.

Switch to winter tires:

If you’ll be driving in the snow and ice, it’s a good idea to swap out any all-season or summer tires with a set of winter tires. Designed with specific tread patterns to give them better traction, winter tires are a definite necessity for anyone attempting to drive anywhere that may have frozen precipitation.

Double check your oil:

Oil thickens when it’s cold, which can in turn make it harder for your vehicle to start. To prevent this from affecting your travels, double check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see if they recommend a specific grade of oil during the cold season – some cars are more finicky than others.

 Stock your car with emergency essentials:

Having an emergency kit ready to go is a good idea, regardless of the season, because you never know what might happen on the road; however, some items that may be especially handy during the winter months are blankets, flashlights, boots, spare oil and washer fluid. Although it’s likely you’ll never need any of this stuff, it never hurts to be prepared.