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The Drive: Five Tips To Keep Car In Tip-top Winter Driving Condition | Star Tribune

Tires, says Honest-1 master technician Steve Ahrens. Yet they are often neglected until we get a flat. Tires are the first contact with pavement, and people often overlook that, he said. You could have a $100,000 Benz, but without properly fitted tires, that car doesnt move. Tire tread depth is measured in thirty-seconds of an inch. Tires with treads below four thirty-seconds need to be replaced. Aged tires and those with worn edges should be discarded, too. To prevent uneven wear, Ahrens suggests rotating tires with every oil change. AAA Minneapolis Garrison McMurtrey says car batteries lose power when temperatures drop below freezing. If it takes a few cranks before a vehicle starts, thats a sign of a weak battery. Replace it ASAP. Dead batteries were the leading cause of service calls last year for AAA, he said. Wiper blades have a short life, but are key to providing good visibility. If they are streaking, they need to be replaced, DuChene said. How many of us have ever used a handful of snow to clean the windshield because we ran out of fluids or it froze up? Motorists should top off their reservoirs with antifreeze and windshield fluids that wont freeze at 20 and 30 below zero. Residue from ice and snow makes it hard to see, and that can be a safety hazard, McMurtrey said. Belts are what makes the car go, driving the engine fan, water pump, air-conditioning compressor, power-steering system, and the alternator in a lot of vehicles. If there are cracks, its time to replace them. Headlights, taillights and emergency flashers also need to be in working order. This is important, but its [car breakdowns] not a topic people care about until it happens to them, McMurtrey said. People have no idea until its too late. Ahrens says motorists should set $100 aside per month for repairs. That way they will have the money on hand if, say, the water pump goes out.
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