The leaves are turning, temperatures are dropping and now is the perfect time to get your car ready for the colder months. There are a number of things you can do to make your car more cold weather-friendly and ensure that you won't be stuck out in the cold this year.

The first thing you should do, if you haven't done so recently, is to check the fluid levels in your car, and oil is not the only thing worth taking a peek at. There's also brake, transmission, power steering, windshield washer fluid and coolant to be aware of.

If you notice that any levels are low, or if any of the liquids are dirty and ought to be changed, your car will thank you for doing so by running better. It's also wise to purchase antifreeze early and store it so you will not be rushing to the store come the first freeze along with everyone else.

Most fluid changes will not only help your car run better and lower the risk of breaking down on a blustery night on the highway, but they will also improve fuel economy, which can help you save a couple bucks before the holidays.

It is also important to keep an eye on your tires, wheels and brakes. Having the correct air pressure can improve fuel economy of your vehicle, and the tread is also important to ensure that your tires can grip the road, especially as things start to get icy.

While you're inspecting tires for signs of damage and excessive wear, it is also important to take a look at the brake pads. If they are less than one quarter inch thick, you will need to start thinking about replacing them. Another sign that your brake pads are worn is if you hear a high-pitched screeching noise when you apply the brakes.

The harsh winter months can cause excessive damage to the exterior of a vehicle, so drivers who do not have easy access to a garage or other cover for their vehicle may want to consider buying a car cover.

Motorists who live in exceptionally wintery regions that get a lot of snow and other inclement weather may want to consider purchasing emergency items in case they are stranded. It is a good idea to keep an emergency blanket, road flares, a flashlight with extra batteries, water, and a first aid kit in the vehicle as an added safety precaution, especially as roads tend to be dangerous in the winter months.