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Virginia motorists should begin preparations for winter driving - Public Affairs Office of Headquarters, US Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee (press release) (blog)
The American Automobile Association is encouraging Virginia motorists to prepare their vehicles for snow and frosty temperatures. Vehicles that have not been properly maintained or are missing the ever-important emergency roadside kit could leave drivers stuck, literally, out in the cold.
“No one wants to be stranded by a vehicle breakdown and unprepared to handle the situation during adverse weather,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager Martha Mitchell Meade. “Properly readying vehicles for winter driving is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of motorists being not only stranded, but also unprepared for a roadside emergency.”
Based on calls to AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance, the most common problems that arise this time of year are with dead batteries or improperly inflated tires, both of which can be aggravated by a sudden cold snap.
AAA recommends motorists use a simple checklist to determine their vehicle’s winter maintenance needs. Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.
Winter car care checklist
• Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion, and the connections are tight.
• Check tire inflation pressure more frequently in fall and winter. As the temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb; and don’t forget the spare.
• Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions, provided they have adequate tread depth.
• Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level with a tester available at most auto parts stores.
• Wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. Consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that may prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
• Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that contains antifreeze components to prevent freezing.
• Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals or as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
• Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or feel spongy
• Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs so you can see and be seen in dark or winter weather conditions.
Winter emergency road kit
Now also is a great time to assemble an emergency kit equipped for winter weather and to keep in your vehicles at all times. On-hand emergency equipment should include the following:
• Drinking water
• First-aid kit
• Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
• Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
• Snow shovel
• Blanket or sleeping bag
• Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hats,...Source: www.fortleetraveller.com
5 tips to handle driving in El Niño this year - Cincinnati.com
Federal scientists announced Thursday that there is a 80 percent chance that a El Niño weather system would develop this winter
By definition, the natural climate pattern is unusually warm central Pacific Ocean seawater that affects weather patterns worldwide.
Forecasts expect it to be weaker in the winter, but El Niño "may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North,” Mike Halpert, deputy diector of the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said in a statement last month.
Michelin technical engineer Ron Margadonna offered the following tips by e-mail to handle driving in El Niño.
What’s expected during El Niño this year?
El Niño is notoriously unpredictable, and a new Michelin survey shows 78% of Americans aren’t even aware it’s coming! Notable symptoms of El Niño include temperature changes, precipitation changes and more intense storms, though El Niño impacts various parts of the U.S. differently. No one knows quite what to expect in an El Niño winter, which is why being prepared for a variety of circumstances is so critical.
How and what do you need to build an emergency kit in your car?
Keep a winter emergency kit in your trunk in case of any unpleasant surprises on wintry roads. Items like a shovel, jumper cables, ice scraper/brush, flares, flashlight and extra batteries can help you out of a sticky situation, as can a working cell phone programmed with emergency contact numbers. A wireless and fully charged cell phone charger is a very smart thing to keep in your car at all times. You may also want to keep a few items for while you wait for roadside assistance, such as water and snacks, and layers to keep you warm like a hat, gloves and a blanket.
Where do you store everything?
An emergency kit can easily be stored in your trunk to have it readily available on the road all season long. If you’re switching out your tires for winter tires – which Michelin recommends if you live in a climate where temperatures consistently approach freezing – your off-season tires should always be stored in a cool, dry, clean, indoor environment, away from direct sunlight, sources of heat and ozone such as hot pipes or electric generators. If tires sit outdoors, unused for long periods of time (a month or more), their surfaces will become dry and surface cracks can appear.
What's the best ways to prepare your car for inclement weather?
* Check your rubber: Tires lose pressure as temperatures drop. Even if winter conditions are mild, remember to check your pressure once a month. If driving where temperatures consistently approach freezing, consider a winter tire like the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, built for superior traction and handling in winter conditions. Whether you switch out for winter tires or keep on all-seasons, it’s critical to make sure your tires have adequate tread, which is easy to test with a quick penny test.
* Inspect your lights: Examine your headlights and brake lights to ensure they’re fully functioning, which are especially important during winter fogs or heavy snow.
* Make sure your wipers are in proper working condition: Buy washer fluid with antifreeze solution to protect visibility and ensure windshield blades are in good working order.
* Check your battery: Battery capacity is decreased significantly by cold weather. Before the winter months, have your mechanic check it to ensure it’s at peak performance.
* Give your car a winter coat of wax: A fresh coat of wax before the snow flies can help protect against damage from salt and dirt.
* And of course, always keep an emergency kit
What do you need to do to check your tire pressure?
Checking tire pressure is simple and one of the most important things you can...Source: www.cincinnati.com
Car Care Month: Some tips from AAA about seasonal checkup of vehicle and your emergency kit - User-generated content (press release)
October is Car Care Month, and with overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s and frost in parts of Kentucky, now is an ideal time for a seasonal checkup of key vehicle systems to ensure worry-free driving once winter driving conditions arrive.
Vehicle maintenance is key when preparing for the cold months ahead. Last winter, the AAA Roadside Rescue Team answered nearly 4,500 calls in the Bluegrass area for tire problems and nearly 8,000 for battery service, two of the most common problems over the winter months.
“AAA recommends motorists use a simple checklist to determine their vehicle’s fall and winter maintenance needs,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.”
Vehicle owners should read the maintenance requirements set by the car’s manufacturer in the owner’s manual. There is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for vehicle services – including brake fluid. Each automaker has different requirements, making the owner’s manual the most accurate resource. In-vehicle maintenance reminders provide good guidance because they account for real-time problems and how you actually drive. However, many reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis, such as brake fluid and coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.
Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. AAA recommends that motorists check the following vehicle systems:
• Battery: Clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can also test and replace weak batteries.
• Tires: Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance.
• Engine: Have any engine drivability problems corrected at a trusted repair shop. Symptoms like hard starts, rough idling, stalling or diminished power could signal a problem that would be exacerbated by cold weather. Engine hoses and belts should be inspected for wear or cracking.
• Fluids: Important system fluids such as engine coolant/anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluid should be checked and changed at recommended intervals.
• Exhaust: Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
• Brakes: Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distances. Correct minor brake problems promptly.
• Wipers: Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. Purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.
• Lights: Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
According to AAA, now is also a great time to begin assembling an emergency kit equipped for winter weather to carry in your vehicle. This kit is especially important if you’ll be driving any distance and winter weather is forecasted.
The kit should include:Source: www.nkytribune.com
• Fully charged Mobile...