Slowing down is the most important thing to do when driving on ice and snow. High speeds make it both easy to lose control and difficult to stop. In many cases, much slower speeds are necessary. You can slide off of the road on certain types of more treacherous icing – like black ice – at 10mph or less. If you’re fishtailing or sliding at all, it means you are going too fast for the conditions. You will also want to pay attention to the weather. This includes where you are leaving from, where you are headed, and any roads or areas you are driving. This can help you to be aware of what the roads will be like, and how you should drive. Brake application is a common trigger of slides that result in a loss of vehicle control. ABS (antilock brakes) do not work well on ice and snow, and often will lock up your wheels regardless. Sliding wheels are uncontrollable, that is, steering input will not change the vehicle’s direction if the wheels are sliding. If you’re fishtailing or sliding, it usually means you are going too fast. Reduce your speed so you won’t need to worry about this! Most high-speed slides are difficult to correct successfully. If you’re caught off guard and begin sliding, turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. It helps to look with your eyes where you want the car to go, and turn the steering wheel in that direction. It is easy to steer too far, causing the car to slide in the other direction. You will also want to make sure that your vehicle has a winter survival kit, so incase you are in an accident, you will have plenty of things to keep you warm, signal for help, and something to eat or a bottle of water to drink.
Proper maintenance of your vehicle is important. The first sign that there is an issue with the cooling system in your vehicle will often come from the temperature gauge. If your vehicle has been running consistently warmer or has recently begun having issues with overheating, there is likely an issue with the cooling system. The temperature gauge in your vehicle should have an acceptable operating range. Even if your vehicle is not overheating but has been running at the higher end of the operating range, there may be an issue. If your vehicle is running with the temperature gauge in the red, it is overheating. Pull over and shut off the vehicle. Issues with the cooling system can also cause the engine to run cold. In that case, the temperature gauge will remain in the blue. Another early indicator of a problem with your cooling system may be the check engine light on your dashboard. Your check engine light comes on when one of the sensors in your car sends a message to it. Many vehicles have dash board lights that will notify you of low coolant levels or extreme engine temperatures as well. Leaks are a common issue in coolant systems. If you spot a puddle beneath your vehicle, there’s a chance that it may be the result of a coolant leak. Oil is often brown or black, water from the air conditioner will be clear, and coolant will likely be green, pink or orange. A leak in your coolant system can cause it to fail to maintain proper temperature in the engine. If you suspect that your vehicle has a coolant leak, pop the hood when the engine is cool and look at your coolant reservoir. The reservoir will have lines indicating the minimum and maximum coolant capacity for your vehicle. Take note of the level the coolant reaches on the reservoir, then check again in a few days. If it has gone down, the coolant is either leaking or being burned. If you notice an issue with the radiator or your vehicle overheating, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.
One way to keep your battery in the best condition possible is to make sure to go to regularly scheduled maintenances. We can inspect the battery on a routine basis to ensure it is in the best operating condition possible. By having the battery inspected, you can help reduce the chance of your vehicle not starting when you may need it. No matter if you need your vehicle for a daily commute or emergency situation, you will always want it to have a trouble free start. Check the battery for any cracks or puncture marks on it. If the battery case is cracked, it may cause the battery to leak. If the battery begins to leak, it may need to be replaced sooner than expected. If you notice any damage on the battery, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for any issues. We can advise you with what your options are to repair the battery, or if a new battery may be needed. Also check the terminals of the battery to ensure they are not broken or damaged. If the terminals are damaged it may affect how the battery supplies the power to your vehicle. You may experience the battery losing its charge when you may need it. When you inspect the battery, also make sure it is clean. Any dirt or debris that you find on the battery should be removed. A buildup of dirt, leaves, or other debris can result in the battery being inefficient when it needs to hold a charge. The buildup can also cause damage if it is on the terminals. Also make sure the battery is free of any corrosion buildup on it. Corrosion can lead to a poor connection with the battery. In the winter the colder temperatures are harder on the battery. Make sure to turn off everything before starting your vehicle. This way all the power from the battery will go to making sure the vehicle starts. If you have the radio, lights, GPS, heater, and windshield wipers all working, the vehicle will be harder to start. Also remember to warm the vehicle up a few minutes to ensure that the oil will properly lubricate the engine. If you notice an issue, scheduling an appointment with us is recommended.