Winter preparedness can save a lot of misery when the cold actually hits.  Let's check a few small things that can keep "old Betsy" firing up all winter long!

antifreeze auto zone

1. Anti freeze gauge. Never check your anti-freeze in a hot engine!  For the best result let vehicle run about 5 minutes to get fluid lukewarm. Using a rag, unscrew the radiator cap. The rag protects from scalds or burns. When the engine is hot, opening this cap will cause extremely hot liquid and steam to come from the radiator and you don't want to get burned!! Adding cold anti-freeze to a hot engine could also crack the engine block. To check; Draw up a bit of water from the radiator with the hydrometer (pictured at left). The number of colored balls that float indicate the temperature your engine is protected before freezing or boiling. The more balls floating, the colder temps your radiator can withstand.

2. Purchase windshield washer fluid for cold temperatures to avoid the washer tank freezing and bursting. BONUS: You can buy deicing windshield washer fluid for fast deicing.

3.  Tires lose air pressure when temperatures drop or raise as in seasonal changes. Use an air pressure gauge of your own or the air sales tanks generally have one attached to the air hose.

airgauge auto zone

4. Check your battery! This can be done free at AutoZone. An old battery will be taxed to its limit by starting the vehicle in extreme cold temperatures.

5. Ice scraper or a can of deicer and possibly both to keep in your car. Start your car 15 minutes before you need to leave to help soften the ice. In cold temps even your door locks can freeze and the spray is great for those locks. BONUS: You can buy deicing windshield washer fluid for fast deicing.

6. I like to keep a small blanket, flashlight, a candle in a jar and a box of matches in the event that you were stranded. The candle can create some heat.

7. Fuel! This is going to keep that heat cranking in the event you were stranded.

Lets face it, nobody ever plans to be stranded in the snow. These things are small and won't take up much room in the trunk, but how glad would you be to have them if you found yourself in need of them? Being prepared is the best defense!