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The snow is finally here. That means it’s time to replace your wipers, get out your scraper and hone your Minnesota auto insurance. Here are five easy ways to prep your car for winter:

1. Check your tires. Are your tires ready for the snow and ice? You want as much grip as you can muster. The law requires a minimum 1.6mm of tread across 75% of the width of the tyre, though in adverse conditions, motorists should consider changing tyres when they are down to 3.0mm. Here’s a great post on how to check your tread.

2. Change your oil. Now is a great time to do it–having high quality oil helps protect your engine when you’re starting your car on cold weather days. Popular Mechanics has a great take on how to pick the right oil for your car.

3. Ensure visibility. Bad visibility is a big factor in winter accidents. Make sure you’ll be able to see on the road by checking your windshield wipers, and replacing them if they’re run down. You should also replenish your wiper fluid.

4. Maintain the coolant system. Extreme temperatures can knock out coolant systems that aren’t “up to snuff”, according to Popular Science. Get your car checked out; the mechanic will test radiator pressure, look for cracks or bulges in the hoses and examine your water pump and thermostat. You should also make sure you’ve got the right mixture of antifreeze and water to protect your car against those freezing temps.

5. Prepare a roadside emergency kit. This isn’t exactly car maintenance, but it’s smart forward thinking. Don’t forget food, water, warm clothes, a blanket, a flashlight, flares, a knife, a small shovel, a scraper, and a bag of salt or kitty litter for traction.

Don’t let winter get the best of your car! Follow these tips for a great season of slow and careful driving–and double check that Minnesota auto insurance policy, just in case. Both nonfatal-injury and property-damage-only car crashes increase significantly when it snows,  according to the American Journal of Public Health.

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