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Winter survival tips for cars and traveling

Posted: Wed, Jan 3, 2018 10:56 AM

Winter weather travel headaches have arrived.

Winneshiek County Public Health has a list of items you should be sure are in your vehicle in case you get stranded:

A shovel
Windshield scraper and small broom
Battery powered radio
Extra batteries
Snack food
Extra hats, socks and mittens
First aid kit with pocket knife
Necessary medications
Tow chain or rope
Road salt and sand
Booster cables
Emergency flares
Fluorescent distress flag
It's also a good time to get your vehicle serviced if you haven't already. You can take your vehicle to a mechanic or check on these yourself to help ensure your vehicle is in good working condition for winter. 

Here's some of the things you should check:
Antifreeze levels ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
Battery and ignition system should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
Brakes check for wear and fluid levels.
Exhaust system check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
Fuel and air filters replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
Heater and defroster ensure they work properly.
Lights and flashing hazard lights check for serviceability.
Oil check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
Thermostat ensure it works properly.
Windshield wiper equipment repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
Install good winter tires Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.

Leon's Auto and Truck Repair owner Leon Einck adds, "It's very important to check your tires in the winter. Not all cars have a low pressure indicator, so it's good to check for low tires and fill them with air if the tires are low."

Having a full tank of gas is helpful in the winter, when cars need to be started and warmed up before trips. Be sure to keep your emergency car kit fully stocked so you are prepared for anything that winter may throw your way.