Spring has finally arrived- along with an increase in rainy days. Heavy rain may be beneficial to flowers, but it is not the best weather to drive your car in. The roads become slick and visibility can be limited due to rain and fog. Use these tips to ensure a safe trip during heavy rainfall.
Slow down! Be sure to drive at or below the speed limit when the roads are slick.
Avoid hard braking, turn slowly, and ensure ample distance between the car in front of you.
Turn on headlights (but not the brights) In 18 states it is illegal to use your windshield wipers without turning on your headlights during inclement weather. Some of those states include Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.
If you feel uncomfortable, pull over. Sometimes it is best to wait until the rain slows down before you continue your route. You should never drive when stressed out or uncomfortable about your safety.
Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires have less pressure pushing the car down on the road. You will you have less tire-to-road contact than a properly inflated tire, which increases your risk of hydroplaning.
If you find yourself hydroplaning- don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, ease off the gas pedal and use a light pumping method on the brakes.
Rain causes humidity. If you need to quickly de-fog your windshield, turn on the A/C to cool down the interior of the car.
If you hydroplane, steer in the direction your car is going. This will help your tires realign and gain traction back.
Above all, it is important to remain cautious and calm while driving through heavy rain. Stop in to your local Car-X if you need a headlight or wiper blade replacement, brake repair, or a general inspection of your car.
Most of us pay little attention to our wipers, until we need them the most. The rain is coming down fast and thick and you can’t see 5ft in front of you. You turn on your wipers and you can barely see out better than you could before. Your heart begins to race as you guess how far in front of you that car is and where the road lines are, and that is when accidents happen. Before this occurs, take a look at your wipers from time to time and ask yourself these questions:
Are they torn, cracked or even broken off in some places?
Are your wipers causing streaks or leaving grime after using wiper fluid?
Do you hear a chattering sound when using your wipers?
Are the wiper frames distorted/bend?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, you need new wiper blades. It is good practice to get ahead of these problems and change your wipers when the seasons change. This is not a costly maintenance, so make the choice to remain safe on the roads and get some new wiper blades. We at Car-X are more than happy to help you replace them if you don’t know how to do it. Call, or go online to www.carx.com to make an appointment today.
Spring is officially here, and with the season comes time for some Spring Cleaning. Spring Cleaning is not only something for the household or office but your car too. Now that we are all spending more time in our vehicles again, having a clean car can help with a clear and calm head. Here are some tips to help you with your Spring Car Cleaning:
Inspect your interior
• Take out any unnecessary items. Get rid of that unwanted trash (old receipts, take out bags, empty water bottles).
• Clean the plastic surfaces with a mild spray and cloth and vacuum the remaining surfaces. (For leather surfaces, use a leather cleaner). If you don’t have a vacuum many car washes and gas stations have self service vacuums you can use, some are even free!
• It is important to give your vehicle a good hand wash a couple of times a year. Make sure that your car is not in direct sunlight when washing. Use soap specifically for cars, and a hose with a mist-spray nozzle. Wash the fender and bumper areas last. Always blast the underside of the car with the hose to remove buildup. Dry the vehicle with a drying cloth instead of letting it air dry (to avoid those ugly water drop stains).
• Once your vehicle has been cleaned, look for chips, scratches, and rust. Repair any abrasions with a touch-up kit.
• Wax your car if you want it to shine. Paste waxes are easier to use than liquid waxes; liquid waxes cleaned the best; and spray waxes were easiest to use and left the fewest stains on plastic parts, but they didn’t last as long as other waxes.
• Windshield wipers – Check your wipers; if they leave streaks, miss areas or if they are ripped, it’s time for new ones. Most blades typically last 6 months, but you can extend the life by wiping them with cloth and glass cleaner.
• Tires – Check the tread on your tires and make sure they are properly inflated. The penny trick is and easy way to check tread depth!
• Under the hood – Clean engine parts carefully with soap and water, being careful around electrical connections. If you find encrustation on the battery, clean it with water and baking soda.
• Headlights – At around the five-year mark, many headlights become ineffective due to cloudy or yellow lenses. This can be dangerous and should be addressed. Headlight restoration kits can be found at hardware stores or online for less than $20.
• Locks and hinges – Use lubricant on your locks and hinges. Check your owner’s manual, as some recommend graphite lubricant on your locks.
If your busy schedule doesn’t leave you time to get this all done in one go, break it up into small increments. Take it one step at a time to get the job done.
Preparation, practice, staying calm and caution are the keys to staying safe in hazardous driving conditions. Conditions such as snow, heavy rain, or even thick fog often relate to an increase in traffic incidents/crashes. Don’t let this make you think that a little bit of snow or rain doesn’t also call for precautions when driving. Vehicles leave oils and exhaust that can accumulate on roads and a small amount of precipitation can lead to slick and slippery road conditions. Though, there may be times where you cannot protect yourself from every danger on the road you can do your part to minimalize the risk.
Driving in Fog
Fog is more common in the colder months and reduces visibility and gives an incorrect perception of your current driving speed. If you feel at any point that you are unsafe to drive or if visibility is so poor, make the choice to pull over on the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If the weather conditions are bad stay in your car and wait for the fog to dissipate. It is not easy to say how long that will take but it is always best to take the safe route when in dangerous weather while driving.
If you must drive in the fog, here are some tips for you:
Use your low beam headlights, whether it is day or night. High beams will reflect light back at you in fog, making it even more difficult to see. Use fog lights if your vehicle has them.
Make sure your windshield is clear and use your wipers and defrosters as needed to increase your visibility.
Always signal well in advance for turns and brake early when approaching a stop to help others see your vehicle.
Keep your windows and lights clean to improve visibility.
Driving on Slick/Slippery Roads
Rain is at times not the only cause for slippery roads, any time water gets on the road it can be dangerous to drive. When the weather is dry the oil from our vehicles builds up on the roads and then when it mixes with fresh rain the road conditions can turn hazardous. Large amounts of rain fall, especially when coupled with freezing cold, also leads to slippery conditions.
Tips for driving on slippery roads:
Slow down – there is less friction causing reduced traction. When you completely lose traction that is when hydroplaning can happen, sending your car out of control.
Increase space between other cars – with less traction you will need more room to brake.
Turn on headlights – increase your car’s visibility to other cars.
Don’t use cruise control.
Drive in the tracks of the cars in front of you – the path the car in front of you is leaving less water on that part of the road.
Check your tires – The tread on your tire helps channel water out the way and helps provide traction. If your tire tread is low, you increase the risk of losing control of your vehicle.
For the colder months the same applies to snow and ice. During winter weather conditions it is important to regularly check your car tires for low tire pressure and tread depth, along with your battery. Extreme cold often leads to a dead battery and that is the last thing you want when out in winter weather. Also, remember to make sure your gas tank always has at least a half tank full during the winter.