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Tips to prepare your automobile for colder weather

11/26/2013, 5:32 a.m.

— At the first sign of cold weather, many people will scurry to make sure their home is "winterized." They check over the furnace, replace drafty windows, try on last year's coat and pull out the down comforter. One more thing consumers should double check so they’re not left out in the cold is their car.

“The cold winter months can be very hard on your automobile,” says Mark Woirol, automotive safety expert at Tech-Cor, Allstate’s Research and Collision Repair Center. “If you notice any problems with your vehicle, have your mechanic take a look at it now so you do not end up stranded on a cold winter day.”

The following tips from Allstate Insurance Company should help to prepare your automobile for the cold weather:

•Make sure if your engine is experiencing hard starts, rough idle, stalling or having other problems that you get it repaired as soon as possible.

•Windshield wiper blades that are not making full contact with the window or may have dried out should be replaced. This includes the rear blade on most SUV’s. Also, make sure to keep extra washer fluid and an ice scraper in your car.

•Keep a cold weather safety kit in your car that includes gloves; boots; blankets; flares; water; and a flashlight.

•Examine your tires for tread life and uneven wearing. Also, make sure tires are properly inflated. On average, tires lose a pound of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.

•Make sure the heater and defroster are properly working to ensure passenger comfort and driver visibility.

•The cooling system should be flushed every two years with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Have the level, condition and concentration of the antifreeze mixture checked periodically.

•Have your mechanic check, your battery fluid levels, battery posts and cable connectors. Bad connections can keep your car from starting.

•Brakes should be checked as recommended, but if you are having trouble such as pulsations, noises or longer stopping distances, get a professional to look at it right away.

•Make sure all lights and bulbs are in working order. Replace any burned-out bulbs.

For more information on this and other safety topics, visit: www.allstate.com.

As part of Allstate’s commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.