Tuesday Tip: Winterize Your Car for Maximum Safety
By Yehudit Garmaise
Snow has not yet fallen on NYC, and no blizzard is predicted, however, any amount of snow and ice on the roads can lead to hazardous driving conditions.
Drivers can bolster the safety of their families and others on slick roads by taking the following precautions, according to bridgestonetire.com.
Drop off your car with auto care providers who can:
• Install new batteries at or above 600 Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) for optimal winter performance to prevent breakdowns. Battery power decreases as temperatures drop, so batteries that are already low on power should be replaced.
• Maintain a ratio of 50/50 of antifreeze to water. Ask your technician which antifreeze is best for your vehicle and the appropriate coolant-to-water ratio to prevent corrosion and potential freezing.
• Thoroughly check your brakes to ensure their best performance when driving in slippery winter conditions.
• Check belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables to ensure that they never go bad when you most need them: to avoid getting stranded in very cold places for very long periods of time.
• Switch to winter tires that can provide maximum performance on slick city streets. When temperatures plunge to near freezing, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden, which decreases their traction. Winter tires, on the other hand, are comprised of special compounds that resist hardening in cold temperatures to better grip the road in ice, snow, and slush.
Check your tires' air pressure regularly throughout the winter: Changes in temperature of 10 degrees can cause tires to gain or lose one pound per square inch (PSI) of air pressure. By looking at the small “tire placard” posted inside the driver's doorjamb, drivers can find the appropriate PSI air pressures for their tires.
Install winter wipers: that come equipped with heavier rubber that prevents ice from collecting on the blades. However, remember to remove them in spring as they require more engine power.
Refill your windshield wiper fluid and add a de-icing fluid, which you can buy at most auto parts stores.
Keep your gas tank at least half full: to prevent your gas supply from freezing.
Check that your front and rear-window defrosters work, and keep a snow brush and an ice scraper in your trunk: A lack of visibility creates unsafe driving conditions for everyone on the road. Police often warn drivers to clear all their windows and windshields of condensation and debris, which can obscure vision and fly into other drivers' sightlines.
Pack a winter safety kit: In case of emergencies, before heading off on winter road trip, make sure to store in your trunk the following necessary supplies:
• Water bottles for several days
• Non-perishable canned food for several days, a can opener, and many granola and energy bars
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio
• Flashlight with new batteries
• First Aid kit
• Extra batteries
• A whistle: to signal for help
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape: to shelter in place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
• Wrench or pliers
• Local maps
• Extra cell phone, cell phone charger, and backup battery
• Blankets, extra sets of coats, hats, and mittens
• Jumper cables
• Extra antifreeze