Living in western Pennsylvania, drivers quickly learn the wily ways of Mother Nature. Just this December, she graced us with temperature in the upper 60's! But we know all too well that within a week's time, we'll be staring our first snowfall in the face. The drastic and sudden change in temperature, as well as harsh road treatments, can do a number on our vehicles and hamper their efficiency. So take advantage of the mild weather now, and get outside to properly winterize your car! 

1. Tires: The air in tires fluctuates as the outside temperatures do. Be sure to keep your tires properly and sufficiently inflated, and if possible, upgrade to snow tires to battle the snow, sleet and ice. 

2. Engine oil and coolant: The engine oil and coolant in your car are affected as the weather gets colder. To protect your engine against the elements, switch to a thinner, less viscous oil, and make sure your coolant to water ratio is modified for the winter. According to, the usual cold weather ratio is 60% coolant to 40% water. 

3. Battery: Car batteries actually succumb to the elements just as the engine does. It's important to know what you're looking for, and if the terms terminals, voltage, and hydrometer leave you scratching your head, have a professional check the battery for you. Something as simple as a cracked or loose cable can adversely affect the performance of your battery.   

4. Windshield care: In the summertime, I use distilled water as my windshield wiper fluid. For obvious reasons (ice!), I can't get away with that in the winter. Choose a fluid with anti-freeze and check the levels regularly. The roads are messy and when that mess gets kicked onto your windshield, you'll be using your wipers and fluid a lot more often. Speaking of wipers, replace them before the bad weather hits. You'll thank me when you don't have a "sleet stain" interfering with your line of sight. 

5. Light maintenance: Just as important as your windshield are your lights, both head and brake lights. If they're dirty, they're not working at maximum capacity and you run the risk of causing accidents due to low visibility.   Happy and safe winter driving to you and yours!

About the Author: Stephanie J is the owner and author of the blog When Crazy Meets Exhaustion (, where she writes about Family, Humor, Health & Beauty Tips, Local Events, and more! Follow her on Facebook.

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