CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A winter storm is moving into the Charlotte area this weekend. And while you've probably prepared with a shovel, ice melt or even bread and milk, what about your car?

Making sure your vehicle is up to the task for cold and snowy conditions is important, especially if the storm has an impact that lasts several days.

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First, start with your battery. You'll want to have it tested by a repair shop or an auto parts store. The average battery lasts three to five years. When temperatures reach 32 degrees, your battery will be about 35 percent weaker.

Next, make sure your vehicle has enough antifreeze. You don't want to run out and have your engine freeze or overheat.

Before you turn on your windshield wipers, make sure the windshield is free of snow and ice. You can buy a snow brush and scraper for just a few bucks. If you try to turn on your wipers with heavy snow on your windshield, the electric motors can burn out. Also, check your wipers to make sure they aren't frozen over with ice. Most automotive manufacturers recommend replacing them once a year.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are your tires. This is literally where the rubber meets the road, and you want to make sure your tires have enough tread on them. Inspect the sidewalls to make sure they're free of cracks or dry rotting and make sure they have enough air in them.

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