Andy Fiffick and David Weiss: Winter Car Care 10/8/12

2:35 PM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Saturday, Oct. 13
10 am- 2 pm


Rad Air Complete Car Care

Winter Driving Safety Tips


  1. Fuel Tank: In the winter months, keep your tank as full as possible; do not go below ¼ tank of fuel at any time. This aids in traction, helps prevent fuel line freezing and can keep you warm if stranded.


  1. Cell phone and charger: Your cell / smart phone is your number one safety tool at your disposal if you are stranded. Keep a phone vehicle battery charger on hand and store the numbers for your towing company, car club membership and favorite garage. Install your service shop's mobile app if they have one.


  1. Visibility: When was the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you're due. Winter blades are also a good choice! Fill up your windshield washer reservoir with winter washer fluid rated for -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Also check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.


  1. Tires: Proper tread depth and inflated tires will guarantee you'll have the best possible traction with your tires. Poor traction is the main cause of winter accidents and stranded motorists. Have your tires checked for wear, punctures, rips / tears, and have them replaced if there is any problem with them. Air pressure will drop 1 pound per square inch whenever the temperature drops by 10 degrees. Check your owner's manual for proper inflation pressure.  Make sure you check the spare tire also!


  1. Snow tires: If you live in the Snow Belt and / or just want to have that extra level of security and traction, you may want to consider purchasing a set of snow tires for winter driving. Keep in mind the extra cost of owning two sets of tires for your vehicle.

  1. Battery: This is the time of year to make sure your battery is up to the task. Have the charging system and battery checked. Have the connections / posts cleaned and corrosion-free. A three-year-old battery should be tested and checked twice a year to ensure you are not stranded on the side of the road.


  1. OIL: Oil thickens as it gets colder, and if it's too thick; it makes the engine harder to turn over / start, and it will take longer to properly lubricate your engine and cause undue engine wear. Check your owner's manual for which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.


  1. Belts and hoses: Upon your next service, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear. Most are good for 5 years / 50,000 miles and should be replaced even though they may look good on the exterior. Extreme temperatures can cause belts and hoses to fail and the tow truck to be on the way.


  1. Permanent Coolant / Antifreeze: Have the freeze point and PH level of your permanent coolant / antifreeze tested to ensure it will not freeze in the severe winter months. Most vehicles require a coolant flush and replacement every three to five years. An inexpensive antifreeze tester can check the coolants freeze point, though checking the PH levels needs to be done by a professional. If the coolant smells sour, is dark or dirty, has an incorrect PH level, or is not protected from freezing, your cooling system will need to be serviced.


10. Four wheel drive: If your vehicle is equipped with four wheel drive, when was the last time you tested it? Test the system to ensure that the system engages and disengages properly. Additionally, make sure that all drivers in your household know how and when to activate the system.


11. Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future:

a)    Any medication you may need if stranded for a few days

b)    Blanket(s)

c)    Winter boots and gloves

d)    A set of winter clothes, jacket and hat

e)    Water and food, including protein bars and hard candies

f)     Ice scraper, small shovel

g)    Flashlight with extra batteries

h)   Winter washer fluid

i)     Roadside flares, minimum 3, more the better

j)     Jumper cables

k)    First-aid kit

l)     Paper towels

m)  A bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.


12) Know what to do if you get stranded. Call for help, and stay safe in your vehicle if possible with your seat belt on. Once the area is safe / secure, light two flares and place them near your vehicle to alert oncoming traffic. Put on your winter clothing and stay warm in your vehicle. If you have enough fuel, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes for each hour you're waiting for help. Don't wander away from your vehicle unless you're completely sure about where you are and how far away help is. Leave at least one window open a little bit so that snow and ice don't seal the car shut.



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