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It’s getting cold in the Houston area — bitter by our standards. This sounds similar to the situation we had back in the 1970s.

If there’s precipitation involved life will be challenging.

I recall back in the ’70s having problems getting the door to my ’71 Firebird open, de-icing its windshield and crossing an iced-covered overpass. The worst memories are of having car breakdowns in cold weather (especially at night) and having to work on the car on the side of the road.

While this predicted stretch of cold weather doesn’t measure up to what drivers are experiencing north of us, tips provided by the Car Care Council for those regularly experiencing sever cold weather might help:

Check the coolant (antifreeze); coolant should be flushed and refilled every two years in most vehicles.

Check the owner’s manual to see if your driving habits are considered “severe,” and if so, have the oil changed accordingly, usually every 3,000 miles; consider changing to a “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.

Check the battery and exhaust system.

Be certain the heater and defroster are working properly.

Keep the gas tank at least half full, decreasing the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

Check tire tread depth and tire pressure; consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

Check to see that lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

Replace wiper blades every six months; consider special snow blades if the weather dictates.

Be prepared for an emergency with the following items in your trunk: ice scraper, windshield de-icer, flashlight, whisk broom, blanket, extra clothes, candle/matches, bottled water, snacks, necessary medications and a first-aid kit.