Ways To Keep You Safe, As Winter Weather Approaches
As the inevitable weather changes continue and the winter driving season quickly approaches, automobile owners should take notice of important maintenance and safety tips to keep their vehicles in top working order. These proactive steps may help to keep them and their passengers safe on the road. Russ Darrow Group offers these suggestions as you prepare for driving in the cold weather and snow:
Check the lights. Driving with the headlights on, even if it’s not dark, can improve the driver’s visibility and allows the vehicle to be seen by others on the road. Halogen headlights installed in newer cars are bright-burning to increase visibility. Consider converting to halogen lamps. The cost is more than offset by improved visibility and safety.
“It’s also a great idea to walk around your vehicle to ensure that the taillights, parking lights, stop lights, directional signals, emergency flashers, and headlights are all working properly,” said Chuck Moeller, service director at Russ Darrow Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 7676 N. 76th Street, Milwaukee. “Our service team can adjust and aim headlights as well as replace and repair burned out lights.”
Change the wiper blades. The National Highway Transportation Board recommends that drivers change their windshield wipers at least once a year, and really every six months is ideal. “On average, Americans change wiper blades about every 30 months!” Moeller added. “So this is a great reminder to check and replace worn front and rear wipers. If the rubber is hard to end and is missing chunks and leaving streaks on the glass, it’s time to replace them.”
Check the brakes and tires. “Roadways are slick with rain, wet leaves, frost and eventually snow creating slippery conditions, so it’s important for tires and brakes to be in good condition so you can stop effectively,” Moeller said. “Inspect tires and use the penny test: place a copper penny Lincoln head down into the tread of your tires. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, its time to replace those tires.” For brake inspections, Moeller recommends that a certified professional take a look to ensure the brake rotors and brake pads are in good condition.
Heater and defroster check. A foggy windshield or rear window is a safety hazard so make sure front and rear defrosters are working. “Hoses detached from defroster vents and broken electrical wires are the usual culprits when these mechanisms are not working right,” Moeller said. “Check the heating system in the vehicle as well to avoid being uncomfortable and distracted this driving season.”
According to Moeller washing and waxing your vehicle before the snow and salt are on the roadways can protect the body from pitting and corrosion. Routine oil changes and following the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule are also key to keeping your vehicle running well throughout the year. Other things to remember as the cold weather is finally here: fill up on washer fluid; carry jumper cables; and always keep a pair of boots, an extra set of gloves, hat, and jacket in the car. And of course, a snow brush/ice scraper is a must!