BUTTE, Mont. -

For towing companies, the cold weather this time of year keeps them busy -- whether it's towing cars that won't start or because they slide off the roads.

Before starting up your car in negative-degree weather, Tim Edwards with Interstate Body Shop says there are a few things you check, like the type of coolant you have. It should be able to handle 20 degrees below zero and if it can't, it will freeze and the car won't run.

Edwards says you should also take a look at your tires to make sure your tread can handle the icy roads. The best way to tell if the tread on your tires are good is to use a quarter. If the tread reaches George Washington's forehead, you're OK. If not, you're going to need new tires.

Edwards tells us you should also keep your gas level above a quarter of a tank in case you slide off the road or get stranded so you can stay warm until help arrives.

Over at the Yates Body Shop, Assistant Manager Tom Nielsen says make sure to keep your vehicle stocked.

"You need something just in case something does happen," he said.

Nielsen says keeping items like a blanket, coat, gloves, first aid kit, hand warmers and even kitty litter on hand can make a difference.

"You would be amazed on how well kitty litter will allow you to move and get rolling," said Edwards.

It's important to let someone know where you are when driving in poor conditions. "Thats what cell phones are for," said Nielsen.

Towing companies recommend you drive slow and stay aware of your surroundings.

"It all depends on mother nature. You never know what it's going to put out," said Edwards.