Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter Is "Snow Problem At All"

Winter is a beautiful season but it has a knack for slowing everything down, especially on the roads. Covered in snow and ice, the wintry roads do a number on your car, but perhaps the worst thing about winter is getting stuck behind snow plows, buses, and overly cautious drivers as they add untold amounts of time to your travels. While it isn't responsible to speed, swerve, or rage your way through traffic, it is important to examine the real reason why you're running late. You underestimated Mother Nature.  

Let me spell it out for you. The scenario may vary from person-to-person but in the end the lesson will always be the same.

The alarm sounds. It's Monday morning already, and while you want nothing more than to stay safely tucked beneath your warm blanket, you know that you have very little time to spare. That presentation that you've been dreading at work is finally here, and anything short of an alien abduction couldn't get you out of going into the office today. 

After a quick series of rinses and gargles, a piece of toast, and a pot of coffee, you're ready to head out the door without a moment to spare. Greeted by a snow covered ground and a chilling 20 mph wind, you trudge over to your frozen car only to find it covered (and I mean COVERED) in snow.

You know you don't have much time but you can't do anything but stand there and hope that what you're seeing is an illusion. The seemingly harmless snowfall combined with fierce winds overnight, to form the mother of all snow drifts right on top of your car. At this point you've spilled just enough coffee on your good pants to make it look like you can't afford laundry detergent, and you've got so many bags of work papers that your neighbor cheerfully waves to you like you're heading off for a week long vacation in the Bahamas...if only (sigh). 

After lugging everything back in the house, searching for the shovel, searching for the shovel some more, finding the shovel, and finally clearing off your car, you've lost 25 minutes and you're almost certainly going to be late for your presentation.  

Things couldn't possibly get any worse, there's just no way that...CHHK...CHHK...CHHHHKK!
And the car won't start. Suddenly everything else that has happened up to this point seems utterly meaningless. Do you call your boss and tell him that you're going to be late because your car won't start? It sounds like such a lame excuse. Do you try to catch a ride in with a friend? Do you walk? Do you stay home? This is ridiculous. As the internal debate rages on inside of you, you can't help but think that this misfortune could have been prevented. 

5 Winter Car Care Tips For A More Efficient Winter Driving Experience

I hate to say it, but with a little preparation on your part this whole ordeal could have been prevented. Assuming that your vehicle isn't suffering from any serious mechanical issues, here are a few measures that you should consider taking the next time that snow is in the forecast.

  • If the handle on your car door is frozen solid try heating up your key with a match or lighter and slowly pushing it into the lock. The heat and pressure should melt the ice.
  • If your windshield is covered in ice/frost your best bet is to turn on your vehicle and set your defrosters on high. After the vehicle has had a few minutes to warm up, you can expedite the melting process by scraping the ice off the windshield. (If you want to take more preventative measures against ice forming on your windshield you can cover it with a rubber bath mat to shield it from the elements.) 
  • If your wiper blades are frozen use a cloth and rubbing alcohol to wipe down each blade. This will both melt the ice and prevent the blades from sticking to the windshield or freezing again. 
  • If your side mirrors are icy the best thing to do is scrape them off. (A more preventative measure would be to cover each side mirror with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band. Regardless of how cold it gets at night, there won't be any snow or ice on your mirrors when you remove the bags in the morning.) 
  • If your car is having trouble starting due to frigid temperatures, remember not to hold the starter for more than 10 seconds as that could kill your battery. Give the battery a minute to recover and then attempt to start the car again. If the battery is warmed up from the previous attempts it will have an easier time starting.

It's always smart to prepare your vehicle for winter by checking your battery, brakes, defroster, etc., but not everyone has the time or money to do everything on the list. At Town Fair Tire we can make sure that your vehicle has the right winter tires to get you safely through the winter season. When your vehicle finally does fire up, your tires are an essential component to maintaining control on the roads. You don't have to take my word for it, just watch the cringe-worthy video below and you'll catch my drift.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tips & Suggestions For Safe Driving During The Fall Season

Fallen leaves can be dangerous for drivers.

Winter is coming but the Fall season presents its own challenges for drivers. From wet leaves falling to wildlife scampering across the road, there is never a shortage of distractions for drivers. While safe driving is the name of the game, being a prepared driver is what will really save you the headache. From sun up to sun down , there are certain precautions that you should be taking to ensure that your driving experience is as safe and productive as possible this Fall.

Scraping frost off of a windshield with a small ice scraper.
Storing a bigger ice scraper in your vehicle might help...
Preparing Your Vehicle In The Morning

If you're running late in the morning, there is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with the early morning frost and/or accumulation of leaves on your windshield. Unless you have an electric car starter to heat up your car before you get in it, the best way to prepare for Mother Nature's frozen residue is to give yourself an extra five minutes in the morning. I understand that this isn't always easy, but its both safer and more relaxing when you don't have to rush to get to your destination first thing in the morning.

As for fallen leaves, it is best to remove them from the top of your vehicle before driving because they will blow all over the place as you pick up speed driving down the road. This bit of advice is most important for the drivers of pickup trucks. A windstorm in the night will fill the bed of your truck with leaves, and as soon as you hit 60 mph on the highway you're going to have a mess on your hands. Be courteous of other drivers and remove the excess of leaves from your vehicle before driving.  

The Fall sun glare can really hamper your vision while driving.

We can't forget about that ridiculous sun glare. In the morning, the low rising sun will beat on your windshield like a monkey on the drums. If you neglected to remove all of the frost from your vehicle, the glare will be magnified. The danger here is obvious, if you can't see while you're driving you are a hazard to yourself and everyone else on the road. Investing in a $5 pair of sunglasses or taking advantage of your driver-side visor will prevent you from being blinded by the morning light.

Last but certainly not least is the wildlife. You always have to account for unsuspecting critters when you're driving during the Fall season. Some blend in with the multicolored environment, and others are seemingly oblivious to traffic. Watch out for these little fellas, because not only will you feel badly about hitting them, but they could also do some damage to your vehicle.

Our Top 7 Tips For Safe Fall Driving

  • While beautiful on the trees, fallen leaves can become a real hazard when wet. They can be as slippery as ice, and cover up actual ice patches, pot holes, and traffic lines. 
  • When driving into a wall of fog, make sure to use your low beam headlights, because your high beams will create a glare for oncoming drivers.
  • Use caution when driving in unfamiliar areas. This may be common sense, but if don't know an area well, stop signs and cross walks can come up on you quickly.
  • Watch out for deer. While these four legged beasts are part of the wildlife that I referred to above, they are much larger than squirrels or possums. They will do some serious damage to your vehicle. Drive slow in heavily wooded areas!
  • Increase your following distance, especially in lousy weather, at dusk, and at dawn. If you are being tailgated let the aggressive driver pass, there is no reason to let your road rage build up.
  • Again, this may be common sense but make sure that your headlights, taillights, windshield wipers, and heating system are all working properly before the cold weather hits. You don't want to be caught in a messy situation without these applications running at full capacity. 
  • Make sure that your tires have sufficient tread depth in case of an early snowfall. This is New England, you should be used to this by now...

With winter following closely behind, you may also wish to swap out your all-season tires for winter specific tires. You can have this done for free at Town Fair Tire thanks to the Free Winter Tire Change-Over Service. If you're interested, please visit our website for more details.