Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Road Watch 2014: Six Ways To Keep You And Your Ride Rolling

With the winter weather in full swing, here are a few tips we’ve compiled to help keep you and your ride rolling.

1.   Keep A Travel Bag. You never know when ‘Old Man Winter’ will bring traffic to a halt for several hours or more. To be on the safe side, keep a travel bag filled with a few healthy snacks, bottle water, a heavy blanket, a car charger to juice-up your phone, an ice scraper and de-icing liquid. A number of aftermarket accessory stores offer pre-packaged winter driving kits. You’ll still need to pack food, snacks and a car charger.

2.   Never Ride On ‘E’. What happens if you’re stuck in a traffic jam or a road closure for hours? Our suggestion is try to keep at least a half tank of gas at all times. We’ve all heard of countless stories of folks being stuck in snow jams for 8 hours or more.

3.   Keep The Proper Distance On The Road And Avoid Driving On Ice. Although most of the newer vehicles on the road are equipped with an antilock braking system (ABS) and an electronic stability control system, we still recommend that you keep the proper distance in case of sudden stops or treacherous driving conditions.  Even if you trust your driving, you can’t ensure that the other drivers on the road or capable of driving in severe winter weather. Also, when the National Weather Service is forewarning you of icy road conditions, our recommendation is to heed the warning, staying off the road. Even with an all-wheel drive system, we wouldn’t risk it or risk the chance of going into a ditch, which would either lead to a huge towing bill or better yet --a major claim being filed with your insurance carrier, which will surely drive up your premium.

4.    Have Your Vehicle Serviced. Make sure you’ve changed out your wiper blades, topped-off all the fluids, check the health of your car battery and examine the tires. In some cases, it may make sense to swap out your summer tires for snow tires, if you live in the Snow Belt.

5.     Wash Your Vehicle After Each Major Snowfall. Most cities maintain the slick, icy streets, scattering road salt. To maintain the long-term appearance and upkeep of your vehicle, we recommend finding the nearest automatic car wash to properly clean both the exterior and undercarriage of the vehicle, after each major snowfall, allowing one to minimize the chance of rust forming.

6.     Properly Warm-Up Your Ride. When the winter temps fall below freezing, which is 32 degrees, this is not the time to crank and roll. Start the vehicle, allowing the oil to warm-up and circulate throughout the engine for a few minutes, before driving off. Make sure the car is secured and locked in case you need to head back inside, while the vehicle warms up. Ironically, some vehicles are equipped with a remote starter, allowing you to start the vehicle without ever stepping outside. If your vehicle is not equipped with a remote starter system, you can stop-by one of the aftermarket accessory stores to purchase a system.

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