(ARA) - As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, it's time to prepare your vehicle for the unfavorable road conditions to come. Addressing a few key issues before winter arrives can save you significant hassle and cost. To protect one of your most valuable investments, follow these tips to shield your vehicle from the elements and avoid winter-related damages.

Protect your paint
The majority of drivers are aware of at least one scratch or chip in their vehicles' paint. Unfortunately, many will not repair these small damages before they rust and become serious issues. A scratch can rust in just 30 days, and snow, ice and freezing temperatures can accelerate and intensify the damage.

Luckily, you can easily avoid a costly repair and restore your vehicle to its original finish with Dupli-Color's Scratch Fix 2in1. This affordable, easy-to-use touch-up paint offers two applicators - a roller ball for small scratches and a taper brush for larger scratches. As simple as painting your nails, you can repair and protect any exposed metal in minutes, and Dupli-Color's exact-match colors guarantee a seamless finish. Right now, for each person who finds their vehicle's color code and enters it online, Dupli-Color will donate $1 to Meals On Wheels for their "Find Your Color, Help Another" initiative.

Winter weather can reduce visibility, so a clear windshield is extremely important to prevent accident damage. To make certain you have an unobstructed view of the road at all times, examine the defroster system and windshield wipers. Replace any old or cracked blades, and don't forget your rear wiper. If you live in an area that sees heavy winter precipitation, consider rubber winter blades to avoid ice build-up and provide optimal clearing. Stock up on winter windshield fluid and keep a bottle of de-icing spray in your car to reduce the need to scrape. Check all vehicle lights to make sure your night vision is equally clear, and replace any dim or dead bulbs.

One of the most essential aspects of vehicle winterization is making sure you have a safe grip on the road. Quality tires help keep your vehicle secure, especially in slippery rain or snow conditions, and inadequate tires will not be effective. Inspect your tire tread and pressure (an auto shop can do this for you) and replace worn tires for optimal traction in snow and ice. If you've not done so recently, make sure to rotate your tires and have your brakes checked. If you live in a snow-prone or rural area, you might consider purchasing snow tires and/or chains to get through the tough conditions.

Emergency kit
In the case that something does go wrong this winter and you are stranded, make sure to keep an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle at all times. Include a flashlight and batteries, road flares, a heavy blanket, jumper cables, bottled water and nutrition bars. Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times and check weather conditions before traveling extended distances or into rural areas. You may also benefit from roadside service, particularly if you are traveling alone or long distances.

With a little preparation, your vehicle will be ready for winter and you can avoid any unnecessary issues. Use these tips to make sure your travels are safe, comfortable and without issue this season.

For more information on Dupli-Color's Scratch Fix 2in1 or to find your color code, visit www.duplicolor.com/scratchfix.Avoid winter woes with quick fall auto fix-up tips

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Category: Automotive