Get Your Home and Car Winter-Ready

Get Your Home and Car Winter-Ready bb3 Jul 18, 2013

By Staff Writer

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The leaves are turning, and branches will soon be bare—winter is on its way! Get ready by preparing your home and vehicle for cold weather. You can improve your safety, save money and keep comfortable throughout winter.

Determine whether your home and vehicle are winter-ready. Here’s a checklist to get you started:

At Home: Have You…

  • Cleaned the gutters? Clear debris from gutters and test downspouts for drainage to protect against water damage.
  • Trimmed trees? Cut back dead or dying limbs and any live branches that can touch the roof or siding. When it's windy, branches can rub or scratch the surfaces of your home and cause damage. They also could fall during a storm or break under heavy snow and ice.
  • Stopped the air leaks? Stopping air leaks will improve your home's comfort and efficiency. Your first stops? The basement and the attic. Attic leaks allow warmed air to escape, and have the effect of drawing cold air in through basement leaks. Use spray foam insulation to plug up the offenders in both areas.
  • Scheduled a heating system inspection? Have your furnace professionally inspected and cleaned to reduce the risk of a breakdown and to keep the system running efficiently. If you have a fireplace, have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected and ensure that your damper opens, closes and seals tightly.
  • Winterized outdoor faucets? Remove all hoses or devices attached to outdoor spigots. Have in-ground sprinkler systems blown out, and turn off water to outdoor spigots. Be sure to drain any water left behind in the pipes.

Learn more timely home maintenance tips from State Farm®.

Your Vehicle: Have You…

  • Had your vehicle serviced? Ask your mechanic to perform an inspection: Test the battery and brakes, inspect the exhaust, check the cooling system, check fluids, change the oil, and make sure all components are working properly. Check the vehicle's owner's manual for information on the correct fluid types and recommended service intervals.
  • Replaced the wiper blades? Install winter blades. Also store an ice scraper in the car, and stock up on windshield washer fluid rated to withstand -34 degrees C (-30 degrees F) or lower temperatures. 
  • Monitored the fuel line? Today's ethanol fuels remove small amounts of water from your fuel system to help prevent freezing. In addition, you can help avoid freeze-ups by keeping your vehicle in a heated garage, avoiding refueling while the tanker truck is at the station (water and deposits from the tanker could end up in your fuel line) and keeping your gas cap secured. Another solution: Always keep the tank at least half-full.
  • Inspected the tires? Check for uneven wear, cupping, sidewall cracking and other damage or deterioration. Also measure tire tread. If your tires fail any of these tests, replace them with all-season tires, or, in extreme winter environments, with winter snow tires.
  • Stocked the trunk with emergency equipment? Essentials include: Flares, jumper cables, a shovel, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable snacks and cold-weather gear. Watch this video to get more tips from State Farm® on preparing for winter driving emergencies.

Find out how maintaining your vehicle can also help you save on fuel.