How to get your vehicle ready for winter

Many people are taking advantage of the weather right now to install holiday lights, but while you’re deciding between clear or colorful – now is also the time to winterize your vehicle before severe winter weather returns.

Last year was on one of the most active winter seasons the Kansas-Missouri bi-state area has seen in many years. While the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) continue to stay alert and prepare to deal with snow and ice on area highways, the departments are working together to urge motorists to take care and do their part as well.

• Pack an emergency car kit:
Motorists should be prepared in case they are stranded. A winter emergency car kit could contain a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, general first aid kit, tire chains, blanket, extra clothes, non-clumping kitty litter for traction, flares or reflective triangles, cell phone with extra batteries, drinking water, non-perishable food items, window washer solvent, ice scraper, snow brush and shovel.

• Check the tires:
Tires should always be inflated to their specified poundage and have enough tread to handle all road conditions. To check tire tread, insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first. If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire, you need new tires.

• Check the windshield wipers, fluid, and defroster:
Make sure wipers and the defroster are in good working order. Verify that windshield washer fluid reservoirs are filled with no-freeze washer fluid.

• Check the battery:
At 32 degrees, a car battery is 35 percent weaker than at warmer temperatures. At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses approximately 60 percent of its strength. A battery load test performed by a qualified technician will determine a battery’s strength for winter starts.

• Check the engine coolant system:
Antifreeze is important because it is used to cool the car’s engine, as well as protect it from freezing in cold weather.

Randy Johnson, KC Scout manager, said, “We urge motorists to prepare themselves for winter weather now. Winter is right around the corner and ensuring your vehicle is ready and packed with an emergency car kit could save your life.”

For more information on KDOT news, projects, and events, visit Follow us on Twitter at @KansasCityKDOT and on Facebook at @NEKansasKDOT. KDOT maintains about 2,000 miles of state roadway in three counties in the Kansas City metro.

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