Winterize your car before you hit the road for the holidays

Lawton_It's getting colder, and many of you will be traveling over the next couple weeks for the holidays. So it's time to winterize your car! Many auto shops around town are posting reminders on their billboards to make sure your car is ready for the trip before you hit the road.

But even if you're staying in town for the holidays, you need to prepare your car for another icy winter. We've already had one winter storm, but Skywarn 7 Meteorologist Pat Walker says there isn't a freeze in the Sky Warn 7-day forecast for at least a week, but that's why you should do it now, so you're prepared when it hits.

Many auto shops in town will check your coolant levels and battery life for free, but it takes more than that to winterize your car. "Another thing for winterizing is making sure your tires have enough tread on them," said certified lube technician Chris Dodson. "Also wiper blades, it's best to change at least every six months or annually, depending on weather conditions."

It's also a good idea to change your oil every 3,000 miles, and have your coolant completely changed out at least every two years. "It's better to be safe than sorry, as much as vehicles cost anymore, and repair costs are, you definitely don't want anything freezing or busting or anything like that," Dodson said. "And if you do everything annually, changing fuel filters, fuel injection, stuff like that, and keep your car running and tuned up properly, it'll run more efficient, it'll last you longer, car payments cost a lot [laughs]."

When it comes to winterizing your car, don't just focus on what's under the hood, you'll need to remember what's in your trunk as well, and that should be your emergency kit. Make sure you have jumper cables, chains and safety flares, along with a flashlight, and remember to have batteries for this flashlight as well. Don't forget to include a first aid kit, along with food and water, and a sleeping bag or warm blanket.

Dodson says the best thing is to winterize early -- because the money you spend now will save you a fortune in repairs later. "We like to see our customers go down the road safely, happily," he said.

So the big message auto shops are trying to get across is to get your car winterized now, not only to prevent damage to your car this winter, but to keep your car reliable so you and your family are safe out on the road for those holiday trips.