Prevent car problems now, or pay for them later

In preparation for cold, icy weather, cars need some extra care. Extra preparation for winter weather could end up saving time, money, and hassle.

Missouri celebrates Winter Weather Awareness Day Wednesday, November 14th.

"We normally refer to it as a winterization. We sometimes will insert that into the normal service people are requesting when they want an oil service and they're due for their routine. Then we will say, well this would be a good time to perform the winterization," the owner of Safety-Lane Auto Repair and Service Jim Light said.

A mechanic will inspect belts, hoses, and all fluid levels as part of that process, but there are a few things drivers should look out for before winter weather hits.

"I'm sure you've been in a car where the wipers aren't working right and you're in a gooey wet rain or something like that and it won't clear. And of course washer solution should always be filled so it's there when you need it," Light said.

To prepare for slippery roads, tires should be checked carefully. See if tires are too worn to grab traction, and also make sure they are the same size and brand. Uneven tires could affect a car's traction control system.

Light explained, "The best thing is to make sure the tires are adequate, that we don't have mismatching of tires in brands, in sizes, because may cars have what's called traction control sending the power to the wheel that is slipping."

Be aware of any service lights that are on, and see how quickly your car turns over. Replacing a battery or car part now can prevent being stuck in the cold with tow truck bills.

Jim Light estimates that paying for a tow in Hannibal will cost around $45, but that price goes up for cars outside the city limits.