Winter isn’t just coming anymore, it’s here. With temperatures dropping and snow falling, it’s time to start thinking about what this means for the road and your car. If something goes wrong—maybe a weather-related accident or engine failure—having to handle it in the cold isn’t just inconvenient, but dangerous as well. This is why Sherri Stock, owner of inMOTION Auto Care, told us it is best to be prepared.
“Winterizing a vehicle these days really means getting the oil changed and a good thorough inspection to get a clear idea of any potential problems. Bad batteries, hoses, belts, water pumps, spark plug wires, etc. can cause a car to break down. Getting repairs and maintenance done now will greatly reduce the chance of breakdowns and being left on the roadside later,” says Sherri.
One vital service task for cold weather is checking tire pressure. Tire pressure drops by one pound for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. Tire pressure monitors are required on all cars, but if you have an older car, you should be checking your tire pressure about once a week.
We spoke with Fred Knight with T.O. Haas Tire & Auto who told us about a new generation of winter tires.
“All-season tires do pretty well for the most part, but weather forecasters are projecting a harsh winter this year, so you might want to consider buying tires with the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol. These tires are built with special rubber compounds to stay soft and provide maximum traction in temperatures below 45 degrees with tread block patterns that are designed to grip better in extreme ice and snow conditions,” said Knight. “This new standard is intended to complement the current M&S rating on tires and will be identified with a mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewall. Tires with this designation provide a much higher level of snow and ice traction and therefore must be mounted only in sets of four. This is necessary to maintain the handling of the vehicle. The advantage of an all-wheel drive vehicle can be multiplied using 3PMS tires.”
We also talked to Kendall Warnock, owner of A1 Automotive, a locally-owned automotive repair facility that is committed to their company motto of Always/Honest/Answers.
“I want to debunk this myth before more people waste gas,” Kendall stated. “You do not need to idle your car for 10 or more minutes before getting in the car to drive! Less than a minute is all it takes for the oil of your car to properly lubricate the engine. Idling your car in winter wastes gas and can even cause damage to your engine’s pistons and cylinders if you have a combustion engine. Idling doesn’t heat your engine or yourself any faster. The only way to heat the engine properly is to drive. A simple steering wheel cover or even gloves can make those first five minutes more bearable on your hands. Also, don’t pour hot water on windshields to melt ice or frost. Hot water can shatter windshields.”
Kendall also reminded us that if your battery is more than about three years old, you should look at replacing it: “Your automotive repair facility should be checking your battery output on every service, advising you before your battery leaves you stranded. Other things like wiper blades, coolant level, and checking all fluids is very important. It can really minimize cost of a repair if you are diligent. If you come to see us in downtown Lincoln, we will check all fluids, tires, and wiper blades at no charge! You won’t find a team that cares more for you or for your vehicle. I hope everyone is staying safe out there on the road during this busy time of year, running kiddos around and attending holiday gatherings! The last thing anyone wants is the inconvenience of your vehicle not performing when you need really need it to.”
“If you’re driving a vehicle without four- or all-wheel-drive, put something heavy in the trunk!” Advised Sharifa Khalil, manager of LAX Auto. “For the best traction on slick roads, you’ll want a greater percentage of the vehicle’s weight centered over the drive wheels. More weight can prevent fishtails and tire spins. Right now, we have a plethora of four- and all-wheel-drive vehicles for sale. Our inventory is high and prices are low.”
LAX Auto is a certified pre-owned automotive dealership in Lincoln. With a quick and hassle-free process, many people have enjoyed their car buying experience at LAX Auto.
No matter how cautiously you may drive, accidents can happen, and it’s important to always have good insurance coverage.
“When you’re buying auto insurance, trying to figure out how much coverage to get can be a balancing act,” admitted Matthew Moorhead with Shelter Insurance. “You want to be sure you have enough coverage if you’re in an accident, but you don’t want your auto premiums to break the bank. As an agent with Shelter Insurance, I want to help you select the right coverage for your specific situation. You may be surprised what additional savings you can qualify for through all our car insurance discounts, such as a multi-car discount, safe driver discount, and so much more.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17% of all vehicle crashes occur in winter conditions. In the case of a collision, make sure you have a trusted auto repair shop you work with, such as Midtown Body & Paint. They specialize in body paint, collision, and framework repair, and describe themselves as the shop where “people wreck their cars just to see us.” They make sure your car looks and drives as if it’s new. We spoke to Dan Pape to get his thoughts on safety tips for preparing to drive on winter roads: “Tires are always a good thing to check,” he said. “If you’re seeing the wear indicators on your tires, you should have them replaced to prevent traction loss and hydroplaning. If your battery is old and weak, cold temperatures can leave you stranded. A car takes more voltage to start when it is cold because the fluids in your car will be thicker. Also make sure to keep the underside of your car clean through an undercarriage carwash to prevent the corrosion caused by salt and other ice-melting agents on the road.”
If you aren’t sure whether or not your vehicle is in good condition, Dan invites you to give Midtown Body a call. Above all, he encourages drivers to keep their vehicles in top shape and use safe driving practices on the road.
Stay safe on the roads this winter, and take the necessary precautions to make sure you and your vehicle are safe while driving!