Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Winter is here; is your vehicle ready for it?

Dec 28, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


A fairly moderate December turned ugly on Christmas Eve, ushering in snow and bitter-cold temperatures.

No doubt that caught people off-guard as they pondered if their vehicle was ready for winter weather.

Gary Crawford, owner of Mt. Pleasant Tire, was feeling the effects Tuesday of the weather’s downturn. He felt like he was on roller blades. “With three days off and the change in the weather, this is what happens,” Crawford sighed.

For those who have delayed preparing their vehicle for winter driving, Crawford has these tips.

It all starts up front in the engine, he said, urging motorists to begin by checking the fluid level in the radiator. He said it is important to have the correct antifreeze-water level. If you don’t have an antifreeze tester, purchase one to check the level of protection. Make sure the fluid level is filled to the maximum level.

Checking oil is also important and some mechanics recommend switching to a thinner weight oil if you live in a colder winter climate.

Wiper fluid also should be checked and filled with a freeze-resistant fluid.

Moving down, Crawford said good tires are essential for traction on wintry roads. Low-air pressure or worn tires are dangerous on wet and slick roads as both can reduce traction.

He also advises motorists to consider putting on snow tires, noting it is a valuable investment that can increase traction and response on the road.

Battery capacity is reduced in cold weather, Crawford stated. It is wise to make a thorough inspection of the battery, cables, terminals and fluid. The cables should be checked for cracks and breaks. Terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections.

While inspecting the battery, look for the manufacturer’s date. If shopping for a new battery, never buy one with a six-month-old manufacturer’s date.

Now that you have checked under the hood, it’s time to move to another essential item for winter driving — an emergency kit to keep in the vehicle.

Items that should be included in the emergency kit include: flashlight, jumper cables, a blanket, rather thick gloves and a hat. He also advises having a bag of Kitty Litter or sand, which helps if stuck in snow or slush. Other essential items include an ice scraper and brush, extra coat, first-aid kit, small shovel, safe and leakproof container of coolant and snacks.

Crawford also says to ensure owners are not locked out of their vehicle, they should purchase de-icing glycerin or a substance used for de-icing locks.

While these are all good steps in preventing a winter nightmare on the road, Crawford said regular maintenance is the best form of prevention. Make sure all the above boxes are checked along with a check of wear and tear on belts, hoses and spark plugs to prevent a dangerous breakdown during a winter storm.

If nothing else, preparing your vehicle for winter can give you the peace of mind that getting from point A to point B won’t be an adventure.

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