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Winter Driving Tips

AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

Tips for long-distance winter trips:

  • Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
  • Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
  • Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  • If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

Winter tyre

Tips for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/#.WimswkqnHcs

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Simple Winter Car Care Tips

Lighting

One major hazard with winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in the day, which means there’s less daylight, especially on your commute home. As a result, you’ll want to do everything you possibly can to make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are in excellent shape, providing the brightest possible illumination they can. If a bulb is out, fix it before winter starts, and if there’s snow covering any exterior light, make sure you remove it before setting off to drive anywhere. If your headlights are foggy or yellow, consider replacing them or look into an easy restoration kit.

Battery

It’s often more difficult for a battery to operate in cold weather than it is for a battery to operate in warm weather. As a result, a battery that’s merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter. Our advice is to have a volt test performed on your battery before winter starts to make sure it’s still in good working order. If it isn’t, buy a new battery as soon as possible so you’ll never have to worry about being stranded or left in a cold parking lot with a car that won’t start.

Coolant

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is tremendously important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before you head into winter, make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out. Many mechanics recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water in their radiators, which usually results in a lower engine freezing point than just coolant.

Gasoline and Washer Fluid

You might be wondering what gasoline and washer fluid could possibly have in common. The answer is that they’re two automotive items you should try to keep full during the winter. You should try to keep your gas tank full for several reasons, like the fact that a full tank may prevent accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump and can help you stay warm by allowing the engine to stay running in case you get stuck. Meanwhile, a full windshield-washer reservoir is tremendously important, as messy road debris from a snowstorm can sometimes necessitate constant window washing to see where you’re going.

Tires

All-wheel drive is confidence-inspiring when you’re accelerating, but it doesn’t help you when you’re braking and turning,” says Woody Rogers, director of product information for Tire Rack. “Winter tires are a must in areas where the temperature regularly drops below 45 degrees,” Rogers adds, noting that winter tires are more capable of staying flexible at low temperatures. This means that they can provide improved traction when you’re trying to stop and turn on cold pavement, even if there’s no snow on the ground.

Winter-car

Defroster and Climate Control

Before winter gets into full swing, be sure to check your car’s window defroster and its climate control system to make sure both items are still working properly. Their purpose is obvious: The climate control system will help keep you warm in the winter (and can help keep your windows from fogging up), while the defroster will keep your windows from icing up. Both items are crucial to maintaining comfort and safety throughout the winter.

Survival Kit

Although this isn’t a car care tip as much as a winter preparedness tip, we suggest considering a survival kit for your vehicle if you want to really maximize your vehicle’s readiness for winter. While it might sound ridiculous for some urban drivers, motorists in rural areas might find themselves stuck on a deserted road with heavy snow falling and few vehicles around for miles. If there’s even some possibility you’ll end up on a road like this during the winter, a survival kit is a good idea. Select one that’s stocked with a blanket, a first-aid kit, a knife, a flashlight, jumper cables and a cellphone charger that works in your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. We also suggest keeping a shovel in your vehicle’s trunk and some sort of de-icer spray handy, so you can easily access the engine or trunk in case they’re frozen shut.

 

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Car Care Tips from the Pros Prepare You for Fall and Winter Driving

  • Before you do anything else, read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.
  • Get engine performance and driveability problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc. — corrected at a reputable repair shop that employs ASE-certified repair professionals. Cold weather makes existing problems worse.
  • Replace dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline.
  • As the temperature drops below freezing, add a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming.
  • Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual — more often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips. A poll of ASE Master Auto Technicians revealed that regular oil and filter changes is one of the most frequently neglected services, yet one that is essential to protect your engine.
  • The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. Do-It-Yourselfers: Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses also should be checked regularly by a professional technician.
  • The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
  • Replace old blades regularly. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent — you’ll be surprised how much you use during the winter months. And don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.

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Fall Car Care

Tips:

Battery: A local parts store can test your car’s battery life free of charge.

Tire pressure: For an accurate reading check tire pressure when the tires are cold. Driving even a mile can affect the psi reading.

Tire tread: Check your tire tread and consider winter tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

Tire pressure: Air pressure in a tire decreases 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.

tires.jpg

Brake check: Driving on worn brake pads not only decreases stopping power, but can damage brake rotors as well.

Washer fluid: Water will freeze on your windshield ion the winter. Choose a cold weather washer fluid that won’t freeze in colder temperature.

Check fluid levels: Keeping an eye on fluid levels can alert you to a needed service or potential problem like a leak.

Heating and cooling: Check the HVAC system. Proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.

Tire tread: Check your tire tread and consider winter tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

Preventative maintenance: Keeping up with basic car care helps save from a breakdown or unexpected repair.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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