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Preparing your car for winter weather

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With the cold weather coming in, it's important to take extra precautions to keep our cars running properly throughout the winter season, not only to protect your vehicle but also to prevent potentially dangerous situations.

There are a lot of things we can do to keep our cars in top form this winter, including making sure your windshield wipers and car battery are working properly. Both those things help ensure your car will start, especially when the temperatures start dropping into the twenties or lower.

Brandon Parker is an Automotive Technician at Car Care of Lawton and says in addition to checking your battery and your windshield wipers, you also need to make sure your car's tires and fluids are where they should be before hitting the road this winter.

"You don't check your antifreeze, it's going to crack the radiator, the block, it can run into a very big problem. You want to make sure your freeze point is very good on that. If you don't have good tires on it, you're obviously going to slip on the ice. Breaks, you're obviously going to want to have great breaks, that way if it is icy out you know you're going to stop,” Parker said.

Parker said throughout the summer he will see people replacing their antifreeze with water, usually because they have a leak and don't want to spend more money to constantly pour in antifreeze. He says once the weather gets colder that turns into a big mistake.

"The water will freeze; the antifreeze will not freeze. It'll damage it. It'll crack the radiator, crack the block, bust out the freeze plugs. Just make sure your antifreeze is good,” Parker said.

Parker said you should also pay close attention to where you park your car this time of year.

"If you can park your car in a garage, your car is always going to do much better in a garage than it is out in the elements,” Parker said.

It's important to make sure everything is squared away with the mechanics of your car, but it's also important to make sure you are staying completely safe anytime you are traveling in the winter. Comanche County Emergency Management says there are several things you should always keep in your car anytime you are traveling in the winter.

"You want to have some way to make sure your car is visible,” Public Information Officer for Comanche County Ashleigh Hensch said. “Things like glow sticks work great at night or things like those little triangles that you can keep in your car. Anything to make sure your car sticks out. After that, you want to make sure you have things like water, snacks and a blanket to keep yourself comfortable until help arrives."

Hensch said the most important thing you can carry is a cell phone and a charger just in case you get stranded, though she says anytime the weather is bad you should try your best to avoid it.

"If it's snowing or it looks like the conditions are going to get worse, stay at home as much as possible there might be some emergency chances that you must leave but limit your time on the road as much as possible,” Hensch said.

Hensch says one of the worst things you can do if you are stuck is to leave your car.
She said in a worst-case scenario you should simply stay put and wait for help to arrive.

To prepare for the winter, the folks at Car Care of Lawton say if you come in and mention this story they will give you a free antifreeze check.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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