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Spray from dirty fuel injector (above).

Spray from clean fuel injector.

Winterize your car with this 5-point plan
How to prepare your car for Canadian winter driving

As Autumn approaches each year, don't let the memories of balmy summer drives lull you into complacency. There's tough driving ahead as the nights close in and winter's trials and tribulations loom. Tough times for the driver, tough times for the vehicle.

The wise driver knows that this is the time to prepare for what winter will throw at us. A little preparation now can save a whole lot of grief a couple of months down the road. Here's a 5-point checklist to help you get your vehicle into shape for the wild weather that's on its way:

1. Now's the time to change the oil and filters. Peg Campbelton, a Fram product manager, says that state-of-the-art technology can trap 96% of foreign particles the first time they pass through the engine, and provide protection for up to 11,000 km of travel. The secret is in fibre technology that traps and holds dirt, and a double metal screen construction for long life.

2. While you are at it, change the air filter, too. Your engine has sucked in 14,000 litres of often polluted summer air, for every five litres of gas burned. You can get that same state-of-the-art fibre technology in air filters, too. It traps harmful dirt in the fibre's microscopic chambers without blocking airflow.

3. Check your plugs and ignition wires. Carbon buildup or gap erosion will mean slower startups, which drain an already cold-weakened battery. Increased exhaust emissions and poor fuel economy may also result. Experts often recommend plugs with platinum-coated tips, which virtually eliminate gap erosion.

4. Make sure the fuel injectors are clean. Clogged injectors can cause higher fuel consumption and sluggish performance. Add fuel injector cleaner to just one tank of gas, to restore performance and acceleration that were lost due to injector deposits

5. Antifreeze/Coolant does not last forever. Test its potency and replace it if necessary. Available Antifreeze/Coolants are designed to protect a range of vehicles of all kinds, from light cars to heavy trucks and diesels. Most call for a 50/50 mix of fluid and water. Check your manual for details.

Fram and Prestone offer solutions for each of the above five points, including Fram X2 Extended Guard oil filter with Triad fibre technology, Fram air filters with Triad fibre technology, Autolite Platinum and Double Platinum plugs, Prestone Fuel Injector Cleaner and Prestone Antifreeze/Coolants. These products are available at local automotive parts stores.

For more winter car care information, check out or

Posted Sept. 5, 2002. ©

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