It’s happening—we’re entering holiday season. As you look forward to carving the turkey and opening gifts, don’t forget to make sure your car is ready for the holiday treks ahead. Not only will you see an increase in traffic around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but weather may also play a role in altering your plans. From rain and wind, to ice—and yes—snow, it’s imperative that you ensure your vehicle is ready to take you over the river and through the woods this holiday season. Here are four tips to help keep you and your family safe.
Lights, windshields, action.
For this first tip, think about the front part of your car—namely headlights and windshield wipers. These two components are crucial in staying safe because they ensure you can see others and they can see you. Let’s talk headlamps. Don’t take for granted that they’re in perfect working order. Before any long trip, turn them on and off in the dark to make sure they’re working and bright. If they’re dim, consider purchasing new ones.
Also check your windshield wipers to make sure they’re completely removing water from your windshield. If they smear or streak the water the water across the windshield, it may be time for new blades. (Note: the typical life expectancy of wiper blades is 6 months.) Don’t forget to check and refill the windshield fluid reservoir and use a windshield cleaning solution with antifreeze components. When the temperature drops, water can quickly turn to ice on your windshield!
Brakes are critical.
In terms of safety, it’s hard to beat breaks. They work hard to keep you safe, but weather can make it harder for them to perform. Now is the time to test your breaks in all kinds of weather. Do they tend to skip when the ground is wet? Are they squeaking? If you have any inclination that something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. We recommend bringing your vehicle to Rolf’s for an inspection before any winter travel. Our skilled mechanics will ensure your brakes stay in tip-top shape for your yuletide journey.
Speaking of brakes, the tires they stop are just as important. Bad weather can make bad tires even worse. As a rule of thumb, tires with less than 3/32-inches of tread should be replaced. This is especially important if you have a winter trip planned, as rain, snow, and ice can exacerbate existing issues. Don’t forget to check tire pressure, as cool weather causes it to drop. Finally, make sure your spare tire is ready to jump in and save the day if needed!
Build an emergency kit.
Unfortunate things happen—and if it involves winter weather, it can be disastrous if you don’t have an emergency kit to keep you calm, warm, and collected. Grab a plastic bin and the following items.
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Basic toolkit
- Cell phone charger
- Drinking water
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight (and batteries)
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Non-perishable food (energy or granola bars)
- Snow shovel and brush
- Towel or paper towels
- Warm weather gear (gloves, hats and blankets) and extra clothes
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Window washer solvent
We hope you enjoy all the holiday season has to offer. Use these tips to stay safe and ensure your car is ready for the expeditions ahead.