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We’re about a month away from the official start of winter, but snow—and temperatures—are already beginning to fall across the country. With holiday travel and winter road trips just around the bend, now is the time to begin bundling up and prepping your auto for cold conditions and slick streets. But before you skid into a panic, our team at Caliber Collision is here to provide the top tips to keep your ride in tip top shape this season.

When the winter weather arrives, the last thing you’ll want to do is scramble around for the right equipment. Before the temperatures drop, stock up on the essentials to save yourself, and your auto, from the cold climate—especially if you live in cold, snowy regions. To keep your car equipped for whatever comes its way, fill your trunk with the following:

  • Ice scraper and window brush tool
  • Warm gloves
  • An emergency kit with water, snacks, a blanket, shovel, first aid kit, flashlight and batteries
  • Jumper cables

Just like some of us, your car battery hates the cold. Even the newest batteries can struggle to survive when the temperature begins to dip—some only running at 50% of their power. Before this happens, consider your battery’s age and if it needs to be replaced. If your battery is relatively new, it is still a good idea to get it checked just in case. Once your battery is given the all clear, you may still need to clean its posts throughout the year to prevent corrosion. Just like your body, what’s on the inside matters just as much as the outside, and keeping your engine running smoothly is critical for a smooth winter season.

When winter hits, bundling up is the first step in protecting yourself from cold conditions. And when it comes to your car, protecting its outer later should be no exception. If you are able to park your car in a garage or under an awning, it will save you from hours of ice scraping and keep your ride in optimal driving condition. Even if your parking space doesn’t offer covering, investing in a heavy-duty car shell can make a winter whirlwind of difference. Finally, making regular visits to the carwash can protect your car’s exterior from corrosive road salt, keeping your auto’s outer layer strong through the winter months and beyond.

You likely visit the doctor for routine checkups, even when you’re not sick. Just like your own health, routine car checkups can detect problems early and prevent surprises from popping up down the icy road. Before heading out to brave the conditions, check to make sure your car is in good condition itself with a quick walkaround, and an inspection. Make sure you check your tire treads, wipers, radiator and brakes are all in working order, and also take a peek under the hood to check that your fluids—antifreeze, brake fluid and oil¬—are at the correct levels.

Don’t forget to take additional precautions depending on your car, your conditions and your upcoming trips. Check in with a local mechanic or dealership for their recommendations on staying safe in your area’s specific climate. Those living where the roads are icier may benefit from sandbags in the trunk, whereas those trekking through thick snow may consider chains on their tires. Whatever the weather, preparation is key to stay in control, and safely on the road, this winter.

Driving cautiously and staying prepared are two of the best ways to stay safe this slippery, slick season. But, if you find yourself in an avalanche of trouble, our Caliber Collision team is here to jumpstart your car back to pre-accident condition. Though temperatures are dropping, our Purpose—Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®—is always at the top of our teammates’ to-do list.