Winter's snow, sleet and sub-freezing temperatures are bad news, as any motorist will attest. However, the good news is that most winter car problems and breakdowns can be prevented by having a technician inspect and repair your car, before the start of the season.

"Preventive maintenance will help you avoid the inconvenience, delay and expense caused by a sudden breakdown, and help ensure you and your family of safe, dependable motoring," says Mark Katter, district manager for Midas in Salt Lake City.He suggests having a qualified technician check these seven car service areas:

1. Exhaust System: Check exhaust manifold, exhause system pipes and mufflers for leaks, rust, loose brackets and/or broken hangers.

2. Cooling System: Check antifreeze level and coolant efficiency, radiator connections and water pump, expecially at clamp areas.

3. Brake System: Check and adjust brakes and repack wheel bearings. Check brake fluid level in the master cylinder. Be sure to have a qualified technician inspect the entire brake system.

4. Belts: Check alternator, power steering, radiator fan or air conditioning belts for wear. Tighten loose belts and replace those that or cracked, frayed or glazed.

5. Tires: Check air pressure, tread wear, front and rear wheel alignment angles, and tire balance. Tire pressure and alignment should match manufacturer's specifications. Use snow tires on drive-wheels, if necessary.

6. Electrical System: Check battery water level where applicable, and inspect posts and clamps for corrosion. Check alternator, lightbulbs and spark plug wires.

7. Fluids: Change oil and filter. Most cars today use multi-viscosity oil year-round, such as 10W/30 or 5W/30. Check manufacturer's specifications for the correct type of oil for your car. Check transmission, power steering and washer fluid levels, as well as wiper blades.

In addition to a pre-season inspection, Katter recommends keeping the following items in your car's trunk: booster cables, snow brush/ice scraper, shovel, flashlight, rock salt or sand, tow chains, extra clothing, emergency flares, first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, and essential prescription medication.

To help motorist winterize their cars, all of the more than 1,700 Midas Muffler and Brake Shops nationwide are offering free under-the-car safety inspections, throughout the fall and winter months.

For a free brochure, entitled "Winter Driving-It's Survival of the Fittest," produced with the assistance of the National Safety Council, write to: Midas International Corporation, P. O. Box 11172, Chicago, Illinois 60611.