Aug 06 2012
This winter promises to be a tough one what with the first blizzards paralyzing the central plains in October and big snow hitting the inner northeast at the same time. By Thanksgiving, most of the top half of the country should have experienced several bouts of winter weather, many weeks before the official start of our coldest season. If you’re planning to hit the road during the worst of these months, then you there are some things you should do first to make sure that your car is ready for travel including bringing along the requisite gear to make your journey a safe one.
To that end, the following tips are worth considering:
Tune Up – When was the last time your car was properly tuned? I don’t mean just replacing an air filter, changing the oil or inspecting the battery to make sure that it is secured. Rather, have you also checked the Heavy Duty Windshield fluid, inspected antifreeze, changed your wiper blades and made sure that your spark plugs and spark plug wires were okay? A basic check up is essential, but go a step further to make sure that the oil is clean, oil filter is replaced and that other components are working fine too.
Tires – You may be able to get by with your all season radials, but do consider purchasing a pair of snow tires for added grip. Put them on the front if you have a front wheel drive vehicle, on the rear for rear wheel drive, or buy four if you have all wheel drive. Replace worn tires; keep proper amounts of air in them always.
Emergency Gear – You have your hat, coat, muffler, sunglasses and gloves, but what do you have in your car in the event that you break down and get stranded? A fully recharged cell phone with a recharger is important, but you also need an ice scraper, flares, jumper cables, shovel, and additional windshield fluid. Consider survival gear too such as a heavy duty blanket, flashlight with extra set of batteries, food, water, and candy for energy.
While on the road, you’ll want to drive slowly, consider the road conditions and adapt accordingly, and avoid ice patches. If you start to slide, gently tap the brakes, turning your wheels into the slide to bring your car to a full stop. Even with the best of precautions, your car may still end up stuck in a snow bank, but don’t panic.
Lastly, join up with A.A.A. or some other quality road service if you don’t already belong to one. Having helping hands on the other end of the line will give you the peace of mind that emergency assistance is on its way.
by Matt Keegan
Tags: check, drive, filter, fluid, gear, journey, Riding, Safe, snow, Tires, travel, vehicle, weather, windshield, winter
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