Keeping your car in shape for the winter

Keeping your car in shape for the winter

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ATLANTA -

During the winter, the last thing you need is for your car to break down. Many of us don't do the routine maintenance needed to make sure our cars are ready for the cold season. So, what can you do to make sure your car keeps moving?

Mechanic Eddie Ehlert says taking a few easy steps can cut down on your chances of having a winter car break down. It starts with your battery. Scrap off any corrosion you might have, because that blocks the power the battery supplies to turn over your engine.

"Eventually this sort of corrosion will eat through the battery terminals so that no power goes through it," said Ehlert.

When your car does turn over and you hear a loud screeching noise, you've likely get a loose belt. It must be looked at right away.

"Most cars have only one belt these days, and it controls everything. So you've got a few moments from the time it breaks till the battery dies, and it stops running," Ehlert said.

Colder weather will make leaks worse so get them fixed. You should also check your tires to make sure they're not worn and are properly inflated.

"Tires are rubber, just like the belt. They shrink much more overnight; the air inside of them shrinks more overnight. Check the pressure once in a while," advised Ehlert.

Other things to inspect are your lights, wiper fluid and coolant. Ehlert also suggests leaving a little extra time to let the car warm up.

"Everything doesn't get to full efficiency until it expands to its full operation condition. So unless you are in a tremendous hurry, give it a minute," said Ehlert.

You also want to keep some items in your car, like an ice scraper, to scrape ice of your vehicle's windows. Blankets, snacks and even a couple of bottles of water are also a good idea, just in case your car does break down and you have to wait a while for help.

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