It may be easy to forget about giving your car the tender loving care it needs to stay healthy. But with the heavy snow, icy roads and cold weather that winter can bring, now is the time to make sure to care for your vehicle. Cold weather makes pliable material stiffer and more brittle and can make fluids thicker. If you live an area with severe winter weather, you know how dangerous the roads can get and the unique problems winter weather can create for your car.
So, take a look through this list of winter car care tips:
Take your car in for a tune-up.
If you haven’t taken your car to the shop for a while, now is the time to do so. A tune-up will help keep your car running longer and may save you money by detecting potential problems early.
Check your tires.
On slippery or icy roads, your tires are extremely important to giving you stability and controlled handling. So, make sure to check your tires’ pressure and wear. You can place a penny on its edge in a tread groove to test a tire’s tread. If you can see the top of his hair or any of the tires background, it is time to replace your tires. Do this in several spots because tires don’t wear evenly. You should also take your tires in to get rotated and properly balanced. If you’re in an area with particularly severe winter weather, you should consider purchasing a set of snow tires, which are made specifically for snowy and icy surfaces.
Check your fluids levels.
Make sure you check that the transmission, brake, power steering and windshield washer fluids and coolants are filled to proper levels. You should use de-icer windshield washer fluid which will help clear light ice and frost while preventing re-freezing.
Make a winter emergency kit.
In addition to the emergency road kit you should already have in your car, it is a good idea to have a special winter car kit. This kit should include things like cat litter or sand for tire traction on snow and ice, an ice scraper and de-icing liquid.
Check your air filters.
During the summer and fall, contaminants can get caught in your air filters and will eventually get caught inside your vehicle and cause problems. If you see any debris caught on the filter, it’s a good idea to get the filter replaced.
1. Don’t drive toward the sides of the road.
Roads are constructed so that they’re highest in the middle. The difference may be slight, but it causes water to run off the center hump (actually, it’s called a crown) and drain toward the edges. If you’re driving in the rain you want to avoid standing water, which means that you want to be where the water isn’t — and that’s in the center of the road. No, the center won’t be dry either, especially if it’s still raining, but it’s going to be the driest place around that isn’t in somebody’s garage.
2. Don’t leave your headlights off (but don’t make them too bright either).
We sometimes assume that, just like everything else, our headlights are all about us. They help us see what’s in front of us, kind of like a pair of big flashlights. Actually, when it’s raining, what you need your headlights for, even in the daytime, is so that other people can see you. But if headlights help you be seen, you don’t want to unintentionally blind people with them either. Other drivers are already having enough trouble finding their way around. Don’t dazzle them by turning on your high beams.
3. Don’t drive if the windshield is so covered with rain that you can’t see!
Okay, this one sounds like a no-brainer, but isn’t it amazing how many people seem to have been born without brains? It doesn’t matter if you know the road so well that you could drive it blindfolded while sound asleep, you still shouldn’t drive it while there’s enough water on the windshield to provide a home for goldfish. Not being able to see ahead, you don’t necessarily know what’s there. There could be stopped cars in front of you that you can’t see. There may be pedestrians wandering around befuddled in your path. You may not even be driving as straight as you think you are and could be heading straight for a bridge abutment. When visibility gets low, pull off the road as quickly as it’s safe to do so. Stop your car. Pop a CD in the dashboard player and listen to soothing music while you wait for things to clear up again. Get out your cell phone and have a conversation with your best friend (but only when you’re not driving, remember?). Turn to the person next to you and get to know them better. Wonderful marriages have resulted from less auspicious beginnings.
4. Don’t drive through a river.
We don’t mean that literally, but if you see water flowing across the road from one side to the other and don’t know how deep it is, don’t try to drive across it! Every year hapless drivers figure their cars won’t be harmed by fording a tiny little stream of rainwater that couldn’t be deeper than, oh, an inch or so. You’d be surprised how many of these people then find themselves swept away, off the road and into a vicious current of rainwater that could carry them for hundreds of feet as they desperately try to get out of their car and grab a tree limb to keep from disappearing below the waterline. Better to wait out the storm and the rainwater than to lose your life — and quite possibility the lives of those near and dear to you — because you thought a little water couldn’t hurt you.
Even if the water isn’t moving, if the bottom isn’t visible you don’t know what’s underneath it. There could be a pothole the size of a swimming pool. There could be broken glass or nails that fell off a truck. If you can’t see the bottom, don’t risk putting your tires on the submerged pavement — or your life on the line. Either stop a safe distance from the water’s edge or, if possible, find a way to drive around it.
5. Don’t drive too fast for conditions!
Speed limits exist to tell you how safe it is to drive under good conditions. When conditions are bad and roads are wet, speed limits are worthless. Drive well under them — and the worse the conditions, the lower the speed you should drive.
The worst danger of driving too fast in rain is hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is what happens when your car thinks it’s a boat while it’s still on the highway.
Usually your tires can slice their way through the water in front of them and keep in contact with the surface of the road. But when the road is wet and you’re going too fast, your car can actually begin to float on top of the water and the tire tread loses contact with the road surface. This is bad. Very bad! When your tread loses contact with the road surface, you can no longer steer. You can no longer brake. This is what happens when you hydroplane. And you often don’t know that you’re hydroplaning until you hit the brakes and the car goes skidding out of control. Therefore it’s better not to travel at hydroplane speeds to begin with.
What do you do if you realize you’re hydroplaning and are already out of control? First off, don’t panic (though, trust us, you’ll be tempted to). Don’t hit the brakes, because that just makes it worse. Let up on the accelerator so that any remaining traction can slow your speed. And drive straight. Don’t try to turn. If the car is veering off in a direction you don’t want to go, don’t fight it; just follow your wheels. And as the car slows, , you’ll be back under control.
At this point we recommend getting off the road and giving yourself time for your heart rate to slow back down. You’ll need it.
Help protect trick-or-treaters by following these driving safety tips on Halloween, or on the night your community hosts Halloween activities. Be especially careful between 4 and 8 p.m., when most severe vehicle/young pedestrian collisions happen.
Drive slowly, and don’t pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off children.
Park your mobile phone. Avoid distractions by waiting until you’ve stopped to call, text, or surf. Get more mobile phone safety tips.
Watch for children darting into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere, and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
Yield to young pedestrians. Children might not stop, either because they don’t see your vehicle approaching or don’t know how to safely cross the street.
Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals. And if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.
And, to keep your own trick-or-treaters safe:
Teach them how to safely cross streets. They should look both ways and cross only at corners and crosswalks.
Consider indoor community Halloween programs for younger kids. Some communities also offer to help you inspect your kids’ treats to make sure they’re safe to eat.
Brighten them up. Give them flashlights and glow sticks, and/or use reflective tape on their costumes, so drivers can see them.
Automobiles have thousands of moving parts to ensure cars drive without issue. Of course, you have your standard parts most drivers know, such as the engine, brakes, suspension and transmission.
Essentially, this part helps deliver power to the car’s driving wheels This is important to distinguish because cars may have different setups in how power is distributed to the wheels.
There are a lot of new vehicles on the road, but the average age of cars on U.S. roads is a record-breaking number of 11.5 years old. How is this possible if Americans are buying newer cars at a rate unseen since the Great Recession?
First answer: They’re not getting rid of the older vehicles when they buy a new one. How many people keep their older cars in the garage or driveway? Spare parts, anyone?
Second answer: When someone is buying a new car, they’re selling their old one and it makes its way into the used-car market, where another person eventually buys it.
Since vehicles are lasting longer than ever, due to automakers overcoming quality issues, they’re staying on the road longer and are readily maintained by auto and transmission repair shops, such as your very own local Eagle Transmission.
Be aware of common transmission issues to avoid further car damage!
Common Transmission Problem: Problems with the clutch
If drivers experience powerful shaking underneath their car, chances are the clutch is jammed. This occurs because the amount of transmission fluid is not properly calculated. Drivers operating manual shift automobiles have to worry about a dragging clutch, or when the transmission blocks drivers from changing gears. Grinding sounds typically accompany this issue and can potentially destroy the gearbox system.
Call or visit Eagle Transmission Shop to learn more!