If you are like me you have been over Winter since the first sign of snow we got back in November. Unfortunately for us we still have a few more weeks until it is all fun in the sun. And, if this February is anything like it was last year then we have a few more winter storms to deal with as well.
Mid-Winter maintenance is important to help prevent losses to both your home and automobile. Many of us are used to clearing away snow and ice from our homes to help prevent damage from the adverse weather but, many of us neglect to take the same measures with our autos.
Here are a few things that can be done to help protect yourself and your auto in this frigid weather:
- Have a mechanic check your car’s battery, breaks, fluid levels, as well as the heating and exhaust systems to ensure that your car is in good safe working condition.
- Try and keep your gas tank full during winter months. Not allowing the gas to go below half a tank will help avoid freezing in extreme cold temperatures.
- Maintain an adequate supply of windshield washing fluid that is rated for cold weather. Washing away mud and melted snow that may limit visibility is important in reducing accidents. Also, make sure your wipers are in good condition.
- Install snow tires or all- weather tires with adequate treads and maintain the recommended air pressure.
- Prepare for an emergency. Keep blankets, flares, a bag of sand or kitty litter to help with traction, shovel, windshield scraper and snow brush, tool kit, tow rope, booster cables, and a flashlight with extra batteries in your trunk.
When there is severe weather it is best to avoid driving in it if possible but, if you must venture out into the storm, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Drive with your headlights on and be sure to keep them clear to improve visibility for yourself and other vehicles.
- Avoid using cruise control in snow or icy conditions, you want as much control of your vehicle as possible.
- Know how to brake on slippery surfaces. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes operate much differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes. You should consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to brake properly if your vehicle starts to skid.
- Remember that speed limits are meant for dry roads, not roads that are covered in snow and ice. Reduce speed and increase your following distance as road conditions and visibility worsen.
- Avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks. The drivers have limited visibility and the road in front of them can be worse than behind.