With a shot of snowfall this week, motor vehicle experts stress the importance of making sure vehicles are in proper condition and winterized for this heavy weather season.
To avoid car issues during this winter season, residents should make sure each car in the household is ready to drive in the harsh weather, says a local expert.
“It is important to keep up proper maintenance and to follow the owner’s manual,” RRR Tire Services Manager Nick Riethman said.
Maintenance service should be done as recommended by the manufacturer, and during this time, belts and hoses should be examined for wear and tear.
In addition the antifreeze level should be checked with an antifreeze tester, which cost approximately $5.
Antifreeze should contain a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water inside the radiator, which will prevent the mixture from freezing. Riethman said that there are pre-mixes of this fluid, that are diluted down, that can be purchased from local auto parts stores, so it is
important to check labels.
Parts of the car, including, heater, brakes, oil and the battery should all be checked prior to the winter months.
Windshield wipers should also be checked, and possibly replaced if needed, and windshield-wiper fluid should also be checked and filled. It is important to make sure the windows in the car are visible while driving, so the defroster and heater should also be checked.
“It is important to make sure the windshield wiper fluid is filled to get the salt and other substances off,” Riethman said.
Riethman also suggested that tire pressure should be checked, because it is important that a vehicle gets the best traction it can get.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Board says a tire needs at least 2/32 of tread depth to be safe.
The old penny test can be helpful in this situation to determine tire safety.
A penny should be placed head first into several tread grooves across the tire, and if the penny shows the top of Lincoln’s head, treads are worn, and tires need to be replaced, but if part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, there is more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining, and this means new tires are probably not needed, according to Firestone Complete Auto Care.
But Riethman also suggests the “quarter test.”
The “quarter test” is very similar to the “penny test,” as a quarter is placed into several tread grooves across the tire and if part of George Washington’s head is always covered by the tread, then the tire has more than 4/32” of tread depth remaining.
In addition to checks, regular maintenance should be followed, especially when it comes to filling up at the gas station. It is important to keep the gas tank near full, and this is to help avoid ice in the tank and gas line from freezing.
Not only should the vehicle be in proper order for the wintertime, but keep a survival kit, which can include boots, a blanket, water, ice scraper, flashlight, jumper cables, first aid kit, extra clothes and a tire gauge, in case of getting stranded.
Riethman said that many mechanics, including RRR Tire Services, will look the vehicles over and do winter checks for an inexpensive fee.
“It is important to winterize your car because this will help reduce the risk of being stranded,” Riethman said.