As we slide into January, why not take a few moments to make sure your car(s) are in tip-top shape? Should you find yourself caught in the midst of a storm, would you be prepared to wait it out? Let’s start with the basics. . .
Car Care Maintenance
Get a tune up, change the oil and filters on your vehicle(s). It is recommended to change the oil about every 3,000 miles to extend the life of your car and prevent major break downs. Filters can be changed less often, about every 15,000 miles.
Go ahead and give your car a good cleaning, inside and out. Cleaning the exterior of a car prevents rust and may prevent an accident. If your brake lights are covered with mud and grime, will the driver behind you be able to see you clearly if you brake suddenly?
When your car is properly aligned, tires don’t wear as fast, your car may run smoother and burn less gas. If you are constantly on the road, consider having your car aligned every two to three years.
Cars are so expensive now that more and more people are choosing to keep and drive their cars for many years. It used to be that most consumers would buy a new car every 5 to 10 years. As the prices of cars continues to increase, consumers are choosing to maintain their current cars longer.
- Take good care of your car – just like your body, if you take good care of it, you may function better and may be healthier. If your car is in good shape, it may burn gas more efficiently.
- Make sure your tires are aired up properly, you can increase mileage by 3.5 percent just by making sure your tires are properly inflated.
- Shop around and do gas price comparisons before you fill up. Gas prices can be as different as $.01-$.10 a gallon between filling stations. Don’t stop at the first one you see unless you have no choice and you know it’s the cheapest option. In most cases, gas at a supermarket or large retain chain store is the cheapest option.
Let’s say you’re on a weekend trip, you’re in the middle of nowhere and a blizzard hits. Are you and your car prepared to wait out the storm? Here are a few things you can do ahead of time to be prepared should the unexpected arise:
- Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle: flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water (up to 3 days worth), gloves, boots, first-aid kit, and car phone charger. In case you do get stranded, emergency workers advise to put flares outside if you have them and stay in your car until help arrives.
- Load your car with winter travel gear: tire chains, ice scraper/snow brush, jumper cables, road flares, a battery operated radio, and a LED battery operated lantern. I also keep a few cans of de-icer and “fix a flat” in your car.
What would you do if you thought you might be caught in your car during a storm? What precautions would you take?