Get your car winter-ready before Thanksgiving travel - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Get your car winter-ready before Thanksgiving travel

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

AAA predicts more than 43 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles this Thanksgiving. Whether you're traveling for the holiday or not, now is the time to make sure your car is ready for winter.

Following Monday morning's snowfall, Tuffy's Auto Service had many phone calls from customers wanting to make sure their cars are winter-ready.

"Winter weather can be very damaging if you don't get some of your more preventative maintenance issues out of the way," said Jeremy Kelly, Tuffy's Auto Service general manager.

That preventative maintenance means the basics, like making sure the car battery works, topping off your engine oil, antifreeze and wiper fluid. It also means checking your tires to make sure they're full of air and have plenty of tread.

"You want to have the most (tire tread) you can with snow," said Kelly. "If you've got tire tread that's wearing down to the wear bars on it, and you're holding off on getting those tired replaced, you're going to have basically ice skates in the snow and you're going to be sliding all over the place."

You can do a lot of this maintenance yourself. Tuffy's and many mechanics in eastern Iowa also offer a free 42-point inspection.

"We can give you a rundown of everything that's wrong with it," said Kelly. "Some of this stuff is a lot more difficult, a lot more complex than doing it and you drive away."

The National Safety Council recommends also checking your heater and windshield defrosters, brakes, headlights and flashers.

They also recommend keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle. That kit should include the tools you'll need to change a flat tire or jumper cables if you have a problem. It should also include blankets, clothes and food in case you get stuck on the roadways.

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