Spring Driving Survival Kit
Spring is coming! Though the weather may be warmer, it does not mean the roads are safer for pedestrians and drivers.
You may have survived the slippery roads in winter, but spring presents a unique challenge to many motorists. Remember, springtime can bring rain that results in uneven pavement and potholes.
Before you travel, here are some survival driving tips that will keep you and your family safe this spring.
Now is a great time to check your vehicle's battery health. A quick check can prevent a big headache before spring arrives. Don't risk getting stuck in the rain with a dead battery.
Today's complex electronic systems that make your driving experience more enjoyable, also place a lot of demand on your vehicle's battery. Your battery can fail from the excessive load or from overcharging. Overcharging happens from a malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually, the voltage regulator, which can allow it to charge at a higher rate, leading to a slow death for your battery.
Have the battery checked if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” or battery light illuminated.
Always check your lights: Spring rain hinders driving visibility so make sure all your lights work.
Ensure that your headlights and taillights (including brake lights, fog lights and hi-beams) are in proper working order – When your lighting system is defective, other motorists may not get your signal to stop or turn. The result could be disastrous if you neglect to check your lighting before you travel.
Most of us never think about the spare tire. We assume that it will be ready if needed but keeping it ready for a possible emergency now can save you a headache if you really need to use it. Also, keep your tires aligned and inflated properly.
Help your vehicle drive more efficiently for increased performance and better gas mileage. Your vehicle’s alignment can affect your tires. Underinflation can cause tire failure leading to severe cracking, component separation or what we usually call “blowout.” Also, wheel alignment helps your tires perform properly, improve handling and make them last longer.
Before you hit the road, a quick check of your car's fluids can help you prevent future failures. A quick fluid analysis can get you a real understanding of all of your car's fluids. From lubricants, brake fluids, and cooling fluids, you may need a thorough analysis of the condition of your vehicles vital fluids.
If the fluid turns dark or has a burnt smell this could be a signal that the it needs to be changed or that the transmission is developing mechanical issues.
Check your belts for cracks, looseness or glazing. Follow your owner’s manual to determine when it's time to replace the belt(s). To avoid any accidents, the timing belt should be replaced at intervals recommended by the automaker, usually between 50,000 and 110,000 miles.
Brakes are a normal wear item for any vehicle and eventually they’re going to need to be replaced. At least once a year you need to check your vehicle’s braking system. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.
For many people, Spring means family vacations, camping and weekend road trips. So before you hit that road make sure your car is ready and in good shape to bring you and your family to your destination safely and efficiently.
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