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Car Care: 5 Smart Buys to Beat Winter

12/14/2015 03:42AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) Rain, ice and snow during the winter months can take a toll on your vehicle and jeopardize your safety. Outfitting your car or truck with the proper equipment and tools can help ensure your vehicle operates in top condition to get you to your destination without incident.

Get a jump-start on winter with these smart buys, recommended by the experts at Michelin:

  1. Ice scraper: In regions that see ample ice and snowfall, a sturdy scraper is a must. Options are plentiful, from basic models with a small single blade to more deluxe versions featuring extra wide blades, built-in gloves to keep hands warm and dry, and brushes to help wipe away mounds of snow before tackling the ice layer. Handle shapes and materials vary, too, so be sure to test several options to find a comfortable fit to make the onerous chore less difficult.

  2. Windshield wipers: Heat extremes of the summer months tend to damage wiper blades, so it’s a good idea to replace them before winter sets in. Damaged wiper blades can result in annoying noises during operation, but more important, they can affect your visibility in inclement weather conditions. A hybrid blade, such as the Michelin Stealth Hybrid Wiper Blade, is a good choice for winter because it combines the technology of traditional metal wiper blades and improved pressure of beam wiper blades for top performance during extreme weather. The soft rubber shell protects against damage from ice scrapers, while Smart Flex technology spreads pressure consistently across the entire blade for superior windshield contact, which translates into improved streak-free wiping and stronger visibility. Changing the rear wiper blade, if your vehicle has one, is also important for optimum visibility and safer winter driving.

  3. Winter fluids: Make sure you always have at least half a tank of gas to avoid a frozen fuel line. Also, carry extra windshield washer fluid to ensure proper visibility and avoid diluting windshield washer fluid with water as it could freeze at low temperatures. Washer fluid with de-icer additive can help prevent ice buildup as you’re driving. In addition, a spray de-icer is a handy way to clear a heavily iced vehicle or help gain access to a frozen lock.

  4. Winter tires/chains: If you frequently encounter snow or ice, or if the temperature consistently approaches freezing, your tires need the extra grip and turning capabilities that only winter tires can deliver. Even if you have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, you still need winter tires to conquer the elements and stay safe. Winter tires are designed to perform better in a wide range of wintry conditions, improving your vehicle's grip and performance and shortening your braking distances. To see which Michelin Tires are right for your vehicle and get the most out of your tires this winter season, check out Michelin’s Winter Weather Guide

  5. Emergency kit: In case of emergencies, you may get stuck or need to spend time in your car waiting for help. Make sure that your vehicle is equipped to handle a wide range of scenarios. Always be sure to carry a tire gauge, jack and fully inflated spare. If you get stuck, you’ll be glad to have a shovel and gravel, salt or a small piece of carpet for traction. Jumper cables or even a portable charger can help address battery related problems. Maximize your safety with emergency flares and a first-aid kit. In addition, stash a small supply of non-perishable food and water, as well as warm clothes or a blanket, especially if you’ll be driving lesser-traveled roads.

Find more advice to get your vehicle ready for winter at michelinman.com/US/en/safe-driving/winter-guide.html.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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