When driving in the winter, you will want to make sure you follow some tips and guidelines to ensure you have the safest driving experience. Allow yourself the extra time to drive more slowly. Other motorists will be driving slowly, and overtaking may not be an option. You don’t need the extra stress of being late for an appointment. Clear the snow off of all the windows and mirrors before you drive. This prevents snow falling and impairing your vision, or the vision of other drivers. Don’t leave a lot of snow on the roof. It has been known to slide forward under braking and cover the windshield. Also remember to clear front and rear lights, so other people can see you and your signals. Driving in snow requires anticipation of other road users behavior, as much as looking after your own car. Watch the behavior of oncoming traffic; you may have to avoid them if they slide towards you. Try to leave a 10 second gap between you and the car in front. The 10 second gap allows for increased stopping distances, and gives you time to respond if the car in front has problems. If they stop, you may have time and space to steer a different course, or by slowing down you can allow time for the obstruction to clear without having to stop and restart yourself. Normally you should follow a car at least three seconds, but this should increase if the weather or road conditions are poor. Also be aware of where ice might be. Look for reflections in the road surface ahead; what looks like water, may be ice. One of the first signs of slippery conditions is if the steering becomes lighter to turn. The action of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) is felt as a vibration of the brake pedal. If you recognize that sensation, it can give you early warning of slippery conditions. If roads are slippery you may see these dashboard warning lights flash when wheel spin is detected under acceleration. They indicate that ABS is being used to slow the fastest turning wheel, or the accelerator is being reduced momentarily. Bright sun and a warm wind can quickly thaw ice, but leave patches in sheltered areas, so be vigilant where a wall casts a shadow over the road. Also remember that the braking may be affected on bad roads. Brake gently without locking the wheels. If you have ABS, it will repeatedly release the brakes momentarily and then re-apply them, to keep the wheels going round enough for you to steer. Always be aware of the vehicles around you, and allow enough space.
The radiator is an important part of your vehicle. If you start to notice an issue with your vehicle overheating, it may be caused by the radiator. In order to keep the internal engine temperature at a manageable level, coolant fluid flows around the engine block. When the temperature exceeds a certain point, the thermostat opens up, allowing coolant to flow into the radiator through an upper entry tube. A fan helps reduce the temperature of the coolant, and the fluid goes back into the engine through a lower exit tube. There could be some issues that cause your radiator to go out. A rusty radiator will soon overheat, causing major engine issues. If you see a brownish color in the coolant, that means the radiator is rusting from the inside. If enough rust spreads over the radiator, small holes will develop. Those small holes will turn into larger holes. to that extreme pressure buildup, the rubber hoses which connect the radiator to your engine will fail eventually. Plus, the metal hose clamps can also rust or loosen. Whenever hoses start to fail, leaks aren’t far behind. If your car has a sticky, slightly sweet-smelling green fluid on the ground, that’s an indication you’ve sprung a radiator leak. But hoses aren’t the only reason for leaks; radiator body rust is also another common cause of system leaks. A radiator doesn’t just overheat for no reason; underlying issues contribute to this major problem. Regardless, whenever your car’s engine temperature gauge spikes and you’ve entered the danger zone, pull over and check the coolant overflow tank. A small leak, a loose hose, low coolant level – the causes of overheating are numerous, but you shouldn’t drive with a hot engine. Also, keep in mind that overheating doesn’t necessarily indicate a radiator issue. The thermostat could be stuck, or the water pump may be bad, so make sure to schedule an appointment so we can inspect it for you. This will help you to have a reliable vehicle when you will need to drive this winter.
If your vehicle is having issues starting it may be an indication a new battery will be needed soon. It is also important to know that the summer’s heat will do more damage to your vehicle’s battery than the winter actually does. The heat will react with the chemicals in the battery and it may result in a battery that looses its charge or fails completely. If the battery is starting to show signs of corrosion may need to be replaced in the near future. Dirt and debris can start to gather and form in tight spaces of the battery and may eventually start to cause issues. You should always make sure the battery is clean, especially around the terminals where the connections are. When your vehicle becomes more difficult to start, it could be caused by the battery. Make sure all the accessories like the radio, lights, GPS, and any other electronic thing is turned off. This will prevent the battery trying to operate them, when trying to start the vehicle. If everything is off, and the vehicle is still difficult to start, make sure to schedule an appointment with us so we can inspect it for you. You should also make sure the battery is holding its charge properly and efficiently. If your vehicle is slow to start or does not start at all, it is a good idea to have the battery tested. You can also have a battery that is overcharged, in which case, it will not work as well or efficiently as it should be. Sometimes an overcharged battery will act like one that is losing its charge, and wear out.