Happy New Year and welcome to 2020! Mother Nature sure has graced us with an overabundance of water recently. With the amount of water on the roads, it’s important to remember to be extra cautious while behind the wheel. Here are the TOP 5 SAFETY items to check on your car. Be sure to keep your battery in good condition. No one wants to leave the house, run through the rain, jump in the car and have it not start. It’s a good idea to have your battery tested to make sure that the connections are clean and that it has the proper cold cranking amps. Cold weather can reduce a batteries cranking power. Here is a tip, if you battery is more than five years old, it may be time to replace it before it leaves you stranded. Worse case, be sure you know how to jump start your car. Living in “sunny” California, we tend to forget about our wiper blades until we really need them. The problem is, when we really need them is when we realize that we cannot see through streaked and smudged windshield. My suggestion, replace your wiper blades every six months to eliminate the possibility of a driving hazard. Wiper blades are not the only visibility hazard while driving. It’s a good idea to check your defroster and heater to make sure that they are operating properly. We tend to forget about the defrost mode in our cars until the windshield is completely fogged. We have all seen the pictures or videos of the dog hanging out of the car window. We definitely do not want to reenact that scene, especially in the rain. You know how you naturally feel colder when it’s raining outside? Well, your engine oil is feeling the same way. Cold weather can cause the engine oil to thicken and make it harder for the engine to turn over. It’s so important to use the correct viscosity of oil that your cars manufacture recommends. Not all oils are the same. Different oil weights can be affected differently by temperature. Be sure that when you are having your car serviced that the correct oil is being used. It’s not the name brand that matters most, it’s the properties of the oil that are important. Finally, although I could list many more, tires! If you have been putting off getting tires because they still have a little more tread, it’s time to take the plunge and get a new set. My dad always said, “Tires are the first thing to touch the road.” A good rule of thumb is to replace the tires when the tread depth is at 2/32″ – 3/32″. An easy way to check this is by finding the wear indicator in between the tread on your tire. If it’s flush to the tread, it’s time for new tires. The less tread you have on your tires, the more stopping distance you will need. Studies show that a tire with 4/32″ tread depth will have an increase of about 87 feet stopping distance. Tire pressure is also very important in inclement weather. Cold air can cause a lower tire pressure. Be sure to check your tires periodically or have your local garage check your tires and pressure for you. The busy holiday season is over. There is no better time than the first month of the year to make sure that your car is safe for you, your family and those driving around you. Have a safe and happy 2020!