If you've been thinking it is about time to start getting your vehicle ready for winter, you're right. Getting it done now will save you the headache of not being ready for that unexpected early season snow.

There are a large number of things many people do to prepare their car for winter driving and they can't all be covered here. So, I'll focus on the most important and let you take it from there.

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    Windshield Wipers

    If you've changed them in the last few months, you're probably in decent shape right now. If not, buy and install some or at least keep a new set in your car.

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    Windshield Wiper Fluid

    Fill and keep plenty of washer fluid in the reservoir. Now is also a good time to start switching to winter fluids which have a lower freezing point. While you're at it, check to make sure the washer system is working properly. Also, buy some windshield deicer and pack it with those extra wiper blades.

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    Headlights, tail lights, signals, emergency flashers and marker lights all need to be working properly. You want to be as visible as possible when driving in a snowstorm.

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    If it's not blowing warm air or it's not blowing it where it's supposed to, get it fixed. Also, check rear and other window defrosters to make sure they're operational.

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    Fuel System

    Some people use additives to get rid of possible condensation in the tank. To them, it's a few ounces of prevention. The most important thing is to keep a decent amount of fuel in the tank all winter and make sure the tank is full before traveling. You may need that extra fuel if you get stuck in winter traffic.

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    There are a lot of things that can make a car hard to start. Annoyances now will probably turn into big problems when it gets cold and snowy. Get a tune-up, new battery, and fix what else may be wrong before you're stranded on a cold snowy day.

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    It's hard enough to stop on snow and ice with good brakes. Bad brakes are an accident waiting to happen. It can be hard for drivers to tell just how much wear their brakes have, so get them checked by a professional. If you're getting new tires or rotation ask for a brake check.

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    Leaks are not good anytime. In Colorado, the possibility of being stopped for more than a short time with the car running to keep everyone warm greatly increases in the winter. So does the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Have the exhaust checked for any leaks and get them repaired immediately.

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