Tips for Being Prepared for Winter Driving from Blue Hills Regional Auto Department
By Judy Bass
This winter has been a harsh one, even if you are among those who love cold weather. Lots of snow and extremely chilly temperatures have made for treacherous driving on many days. To help you stay safe when you are on the road during the next few weeks, here are a few valuable tips on winter car maintenance and emergency procedures from instructors Steven Williams of the Automotive Technology program and Dwight Seaman of the Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton.
- Put your car in a garage or under a car port if possible. This can lessen the effect of extreme temperatures.
- Put the key in the ignition and crank the engine. If the car will not start in five seconds, stop and wait a minute then try again.
- Make sure your battery is new or fairly new. An old battery can be weak and with extreme temperatures, the car may not start.
- Allow the car to sit in park and idle for a few minutes before driving. This will help the engine oil and other vehicle fluids thin out and lubricate better.
- Do not let your car warm up in an enclosed area. The exhaust fumes can be fatal.
- If you get stuck while driving your car, you should have an emergency kit that includes a cell phone, blankets, brightly colored clothing, tow rope, shovel, sand, non-perishable food, windshield scraper, snow brush, and a flashlight with extra batteries. You should have a full tank of gas and let the car idle. Never leave the car; it acts like a shelter. Leave the window down a crack for fresh air. Make sure the exhaust tailpipe is not blocked with snow when idling. One gallon of gas should last for one hour of engine idle time. If idling at night, leave the parking and dome lights on.
- People who have had their car repaired either due to an accident or mechanical failure should have their fluids checked to make sure the anti-freeze temperature rating is proper for this geographical area. While repairing a car in spring or summer, technicians aren’t always thinking of freezing temperatures. The same is true when buying a used car; it could have come from a warmer climate in another part of the country.