Don't let unseasonably warm weather lull you into a false sense of security when it comes to being ready for driving in winter weather. Follow these three basic tips to make sure your vehicle is in top shape and ready to handle the inevitable snow and ice that come with living in Northeast Ohio. 
1. CHECK YOUR TIRE TREAD. While tires are legally worn out when they only have 1/16" of tread left, for snowy conditions, you want 3/16" or more. A simple way to check this is to take a penny and insert it with the Lincoln Memorial upside down. If the top of the memorial is covered by the tread, you have more than 3/16" left. If not, consider replacing your tires for better winter performance. Be sure to check in multiple spots across the tire. Also, if you notice uneven wear or places where the tires bulge, have them professionally inspected.
2. Check your battery. The manufacture date for a car battery is typically printed on a label on the side of the battery case. If you only see a letter and number code, the letter corresponds to the month (A for January, B for February), while the digit indicates the year manufactured (Example: 3 for 2013.) An average car battery lasts three to five years. If yours is older than that, have it tested by a professional. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a winter storm because of a dead battery.

3. Check your wipers and washer fluid. Poor visibility is a hallmark of winter driving, and worn-out wipers or a lack of washer fluid can make the problem worse. Buy rubber-clad wiper blades that are rated for winter conditions to help fight ice build-up. Top off the washer fluid now before the weather gets bad, and make sure the system works. Driving in winter weather without following basic maintenance tips can put you and your family in dangerous situations that could, in many cases, have been avoided. Make sure your vehicle is ready to handle all conditions by investing in the proper maintenance now. 

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