Getting your car ready for the winter months

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Quick, where's your ice scraper?

Out of sight and out of mind, right? But you know you're going to eventually need it. Winter officially starts on Monday. Is your car ready?

Mike Simms, the service manager for Jim Butler Chevrolet, visits Fox 2 News with some cold weather advice.

Keep a roadside emergency kit in your trunk. If you get stranded or stuck, you'll be glad you have these helpful items with you: flashlight, blanket, small shovel, gloves, coolant, window washer fluid.

Check your battery. When the temperature drops, so does battery power. And a cold engine needs more battery power to start. That's why older batteries often fail in cold weather. Unless you have a new battery, you should have it tested. Most service centers do this for free.

Check the cooling system. Coolant expands when it freezes, and that's bad because it can damage your engine. Mike will show us how to check coolant levels and how to know if your coolant can withstand winter temps.

Fill up on windshield washer. This is critical if you`re driving in a snowstorm, ice storm, or fog. Mike will point out where the reservoir is located and how to fill it.

Check wipers, defrosters. Mike recommends replacing your wipers since we get a fair amount of snow and ice. He'll show how easy it is to snap these on.

Inspect your tires. "Bad" tires have worn treads, uneven wear, degraded rubber. Not sure how old the tires are? Mike will point out the ID number on the sidewall -- the last four digits are the week and year the tire was manufactured.

Check your tire pressure. Pressure drops when the temperature drops; Mike will demonstrate how to check air pressure and where to find the proper PSI for tires (on door jam).

Proper tire pressure is key to safe driving on slick or snowy roads. To remind people to check their tire pressure, Jim Butler Chevrolet in Fenton is giving away free digital tire gauges this winter to the first 200 people to request them.

See details at www.JimButlerChevrolet.com/winter-ready.