Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Top 10 Winter Car and Driving Checklist

Warming up the car uses up gas.  Most car engines will warm up in 5 minutes or so.  Drive prudently and give your engine a chance to get use to the temperature adjustment, the same as you need a little time. Most people would rather use up the gas than be cold in the morning. I could possibly fall into that category.

Have your battery checked, there is nothing worse than walking out in the morning or after a long day at work and turning the key and nothing. Batteries just love to go bad at the most inconvenient times.  Either have a pair of jumper cables in your trunk or a good roadside service.  I may cringed when the cable bill comes in each month but when that annual membership for roadside service comes in I don't even bat an eye.  I get it.

Tires deflate when the temperature changes.  Check your levels.  Some newer cars will send out a caution, others will need to be cautious and check the pressure yourself. Inside the panel of the drivers side door should tell you what your tire number should be, if not look in your manual. No manual? I am sure the info can be found on the Internet when looking up make and model. Okay I did the work for you ask.cars.com. Something I did know but forgot to add.  Check your pressure when the tires are cold, meaning you haven't been running on them all day.

Check your fluids.  I rarely see anyone changing their own oil anymore. If you do, the old oil must be disposed of properly. Coupons come in the mail all the time, save them and use them. Again your manual should tell of recommended intervals. You know what happens to people when they run low on fluids, cars can also have an adverse reaction. Ask your mechanic during inspection, if they can check your fluids.

Windshield wiper fluid is another important one in the winter, especially in sloppy inclement weather. It is best to fill that up at the beginning of the season just to be safe and top it off as needed. If you don't know how to do that, don't open up the hood of your car for anything, ask someone who does. Bake them brownies or something for their efforts.

Clearing "All" snow and ice off your car. Loose fragments could dislodge and fly off into another vehicle and cause a hazardous condition.

The one time it is recommended to warm up you car is when you are clearing the snow and ice off of it. NEVER pour hot water on a frozen lock or windshield. So how do you clear a frozen lock? I found an interesting tip at accuweather.com.  You can place a magnet over the lock the night before.  I find this to be a ingenious idea, so I went out to the car to try it.  My lock is embedded into the handle so it doesn't work but I say give it a try if it works for you. The website has other suggestions with Vaseline and heating up the key. Also important, when clearing the car while the car is turned on, clear the exhaust pipe first.

Driving in the fog is always a challenge. Put those low beam fog lights on, they do make a difference.  If you are driving on a highway and unfavorable conditions are increasing pull over and make sure you use your flashers so upcoming cars can see you.

"My car is great in the snow, I have four wheel drive", is certainly a perk on the road but it doesn't guarantee 100%  protection. You are not the only driver on the road so everyone should be aware of their surroundings.

The most important tip that we all should heed, if you don't have to go out in inclement weather, don't.  We may not all have the same destination but we all have the same objective, to arrive at our destination safe. Let's all be careful and mindful. We all have sons and daughters and mothers and fathers on the road. Slowdown and leave extra time to get to where you are going. Know alternate routes.

I found a website with a brief and concise information about safe winter driving including what to do if you skid at safety.com.  Check it out!


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