"Winterize" your car this holiday season

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) -- The stats are scary. According to Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, three out of four drivers wash their cars every month, but only one in seven correctly checks their tire pressure.

AAA has now released a car care checklist to keep your car running great and your mind at ease.

"It used to be a car was more of a status symbol. Now it's more of a tool," says Blake Brueggeman, owner of Integrity Auto Repair in Grand Junction.

Many times cars break down because the owner didn't spend money earlier to save money later.

"Add the tow, add the inconvenience, add the motel room, add all that stuff in: yeah, they should've done it before," added Brueggeman.

That's why professional mechanics encourage your to "winterize" your car.

"Wipers usually seem to be forgotten until they get into a storm, and then they streak," said Brueggeman. And spend a few minutes now to save you a nightmare later. "Cooling system, belts, hoses, all the basic stuff," added Brueggeman.

"Making sure you have good antifreeze protection to get you through the winter. A lot of antifreeze breaks down over time, and we want to make sure it doesn't crack a block or radiator tank or anything like that," said Ron Wilson, owner of Simpson Brothers Garage in Grand Junction.

It's also important to check your tires and brakes.

"First snowstorm, usually, a lot of people end up in a ditch, or something along those lines, so we want to make sure that your tires are in good shape, that they'll grip the road, keep you on the road," added Wilson.

You might have it easier if you have a newer car.

"People have gotten away just with advances on cars. They've gotten away from doing their own work," said Brueggeman.

But not if you have an older car. "It depends on how tuned into their car they are. There are those that they'll just turn up the radio instead," said Brueggeman.

Don't worry if you've got a laundry list of repairs.

"What we do is actually prioritize and say this is what needs to be fixed first, this is what's coming up, this is what needs to be addressed before too long," said Wilson.

Wilson suggests doing it because the last thing you want is a breakdown that could've been prevented. Most items on a car-care checklist can be inspected by the owner in less than an hour, but some others should be performed by a certified professional.

AAA-approved facilities in Colorado will perform free safety checks during the month of October. It's also important to see what your car insurance covers before you go on a road trip.

For a complete car- care checklist, visit www.aaa.com.

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