By Rick Seamann, Centris vice president of indirect and merchant lending
  1. Make sure windshield wipers are in good shape and functioning correctly. Poor visibility can cause accidents. Always keep the reservoir full of wiper fluid and have a back-up container in the trunk.
  2. Test the car battery. Cold weather can wreak havoc on a car battery if it is not fully charged, and a fully charged battery will prevent being stranded in the cold.
  3. Check the owner’s manual for the correct oil usage. Cold weather can thicken oil if not used correctly which will cause engine problems.
  4. Check the cooling system. Cold weather makes rubber parts brittle which can crack causing leaks.
  5. Consider changing your tires to snow tires for better traction on icy days.
  6. If your vehicle is a 4×4 or AWD, ensure the system is working properly by putting your vehicle into 4X4 mode on a dry surface and making a hard right or left turn slowly. If the vehicle grabs and jerks it is working correctly.
  7. Check the windshield for rock chips. Cold weather can crack the chips causing poor visibility and damage to the windshield.
  8. Properly inflate the tires. This not only provides optimal gas mileage but can help prevent slippage.
  9. Make sure the heater and defrost systems are working correctly before the first freeze of the season. Imagine the difficulty of trying to defrost the windshield with no heat.
  10. Stay at home in bad weather. Most accidents can be avoided by staying in and out of the cold and ice.

Have a safe winter and remember proper preparation prevents poor performance!