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The winter takes a toll on everything it touches, from homes to roads to cars. Automotive winter preparations are essential to weather the winter storms. From antifreeze to snow tires to subzero wiper fluid, winterizing your car means taking certain steps to ensure it lasts through the season. These are the reasons why you should winterize your car.

Save Money in the Long Run

Though you will spend some money on the front end with items like freeze-resistant windshield wiper fluid or antifreeze, you will save big on winter-related car maintenance the rest of the season. Even if you service your car at the cheapest shop, the running total could build higher than you want. Save money by taking care of smaller tasks yourself such as washing the underbody of your car and changing out the oil.

Preserve Your Tires

It is no secret that tires are one of the most expensive, consistent car repairs you need over time. Take steps to keep the ones you have as fresh as possible by winterizing your vehicle. Whether you plan to install a set of snow tires or not, winterizing your car involves checking tire pressure and tread depth—two activities essential to winter preservation. The outside temperature affects your tires since tire pressure rises and falls with the heat and cold. If your tires are too flat, they could more easily pop or mess up your alignment.

Stay Safe in Winter Weather

Winterizing your car increases the safety of you and your passengers during the coldest months of the year. Be sure to include a first-aid kit and safety supplies in your car in case you are stuck in a blizzard or wreck on the side of the road. Include items like blankets, food, water, and flashlights to stay warm and alive. Emergency responders may take increased time to find you if the storm is unnavigable and other accidents occur. You will also want to mix in some freeze-resistant windshield wiper fluid with your existing fluid. The solution will not freeze even when temperatures drop below zero. This is critical to winter safety because you can easily wipe away any snow, sleet, or salt accumulation on your windshield while driving.

Remember these reasons why you should winterize your car as the heart of winter approaches. The right preparations will keep you and your passengers safe all season long and increase the lifetime of your vehicle.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.