Although we've been enjoying a wonderful Indian summer, winter is coming.
And though last winter was comparatively mild, that's never a safe assumption in Minnesota, so it's time to start getting ready.
Most people have probably bought their winter clothes and shoes, but some other things need to be taken care of, such as your car.
Al Barber, manager of Pomp’s Tire Service, shows the wear bars on a worn-out tire. When you can see them, it’s time for new tires
"Make sure they've got a good battery," said Jacob Hoflock, a mechanic at Paul's Automotive Services. "Make sure it's got a good coolant, too, the right freezing level between minus 37 and minus 39 degrees."
Hoflock recommends making sure all fluids are full in your car as well.
However, having a car that runs isn't necessarily a good thing if the tires are worn to a dangerous point. When the roads get slick, good tires could save your life.
"It goes by tread depth and age," said Al Barber, manager of Pomp's Tire Service. "There's what they call wear bars on every tire. Once you see them, it's time for new tires."
Barber said there is a minimum tread depth of 2/32 of an inch. When the tread wears down to that, it's not legal to drive on them.
"When tires are worn down, obviously you're not going to have traction," Barber said. "It inhibits your stopping and steering ability."
And there's something to think about for those of us with fuel oil heaters at home as well.
"You should have the burner assembly cleaned and adjusted," said plumber Ken Holm, who works for Heartland Mechanical in Marshall. "Check the chimneys for proper draft, and you should have the air and oil filters changed."
Holm said the consequences of not maintaining your heating system could be the heater failing, or sometimes smoke filling the house.
"It seems like failures always happen on Friday night around 6 p.m.," Holm said. "Ever try and get a plumber on Friday night?"
And, of course, with winter comes snow, and snow has to be moved. Snowblowers that sat idle all through the warm months have to be serviced.
"The biggest thing these days is the fuels," said Mark Patzer, co-owner of Patzer's Hardware Hank. "Today's fuels are meant to be environmentally friendly, they burn cleaner, but they don't store so long. The biggest problem with the machine is they sit for a long time, and the fuel breaks down and gums up the carburetor."
According to Patzer, most manufacturers recommend using a stabilizing product for the fuel or letting it run dry at the end of the season.
Before the snow falls, change the oil, fill the tires, adjust the scrapers and skids and check the belts for wear.
"Last year, all that wet snow in April burned a lot of belts," Patzer said. "If it was limping along in April most people just said, 'Heck, it's the end of the season,' but now is the time to check them."