Prepare your vehicle for cold temps with winter supply box

The plummeting temperatures can spell serious trouble for drivers - unless you take the proper steps to prepare.

For starters, put a winter supply box in your car. Expert say this is the single most important step to take.

"Surveys show AAA that more than 40 percent of motorists do not have an emergency kit in their car," said Jana Tidwell, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

If you're one of them, pack a kit tonight, and include rock salt, a shovel and a First Aid Kit.

"Kitty litter or sand helps build traction if you need to get your tires out of snow that's been plowed behind your cars," said Tidwell.

A blanket, jumper cables and an extra ice scraper, as well as extra meds, baby supplies and high-energy snacks.

AAA's Jana Tidwell says you should also check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels.

"The No. 1 call into AAA when temperatures dip like this is for car batteries, so it's most important that motorists have their car batteries checked ahead of the winter months," said Tidwell.

Also a good idea is to inspect your tire pressure and tread depth.

Check your windshield wipers, too. Replace them if they're worn or hard. And consider using windshield wiper fluid that's specifically for the winter. It should have antifreeze added to it. That'll not only prevent freeze on your windshield, it helps loosen ice and snow, making it easier to keep things clear.

Consider switching to a winter-grade oil, too.

You also need to get your car clean. Wash it frequently to scrub off deicing chemicals and salt.

"It reduces visibility because it accumulates on the windshield, but also it can erode the car paint and rust some of the parts underneath your car," said Tidwell.

Also give your car a complete once-over, especially if it's older than five years. Test the lights, make sure all belts are tight and hoses are not leaky.
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