There are a lot of good basic tips already, so here are a few others from a lifelong Hoosier:

- Just use the winter washer fluid all year round. It’s not that much more expensive. You will use plenty this winter.

- Replace your wiper blades with a beam blade or a winter specific blade. Traditional metal blades will ice up and not be as effective, or require you to flex them by hand to break up the ice.

- Buy a really nice ice scraper that has a good brush and lets you clear to roof and car of snow easily and quickly. Then have a cheap one on hand as a backup just in case. I had one break right when a storm hit late in the season and I couldn’t find a replacement in store - they we’re all sold out.

- Maintenance that you think can wait until spring? Do it now. Things like a serpentine belt that looks like it needs changed soon, or a water pump that is weeping a little bit, maybe a small belt squeak on start-up from a power steering pump can be limped along for a while. But when it is terribly cold, they have a higher chance of failing and a 100% chance of being a pain in the ass.

- Check the age of your battery, research how much it costs, and be prepared to replace it. Also, clean your battery connections from corrosion and make sure they are nice and tight.

- Get jumper cables or better yet, one of those small portable battery jump starters. You or someone you know will need them at some point. I prefer the battery starter, as you don’t need anyone else to help and they double as a portable phone charger and flashlight if you buy the right one. They’re $50 or so and work wonderful.

- Fresh oil and filter with winter temps in mind. Depending on your vehicle, you may have a choice as to what grade of oil to run. For example, 5w30 vs 10w30. Run the 5w30 in the winter months when performance in subzero temperatures becomes an important consideration. As always, refer to the owner’s manual for your vehicle for this info. But regardless, get fresh oil in there. Even though you may be 8,000 miles into a 10,000 mile interval, just get fresh stuff in there now while it’s nice outside and feel better.

- Keep at least a half tank of fuel in your car at all times. Some like to run their tanks down to almost empty, and when it is cold as hell you may be tempted. Resist this urge! Getting gas more frequently sucks, but if you get stuck/stranded due to a storm or due to an accident ahead of you, you want a little extra fuel on hand to stay warm and get through.

- Keep a blanket and some of those mylar emergency blankets on hand in the car.

- When it gets cold (and stays that way) make sure you check your tire pressure and adjust accordingly. And don’t forget the spare!

- Lock de-icer and lock lubricant. Lube the locks, hinges before it gets icy with a good lubricant. And have the little can on hand of de-icer just in case.

- Carrying a small telescopic shovel in your car will help you. I have been plowed into spaces/areas multiple times and it has helped dig me out. And if you get stuck, you at least have a fighting chance at getting out by yourself. Otherwise, invest in a good tow strap and know where to hook it up to on both sides of your vehicle.