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Car Maintenance >> Fall-Winter

Oct 1, 2005 - 12:14:00 AM - Print

Prepare Your Car For Mother Nature

(NUI) - The most recent Farmer's Almanac calls for a winter season that is unusually cold with plenty of snow. For drivers, that could mean some difficult and dangerous driving conditions.

First, be prepared for winter driving by taking your car to a certified automotive technician, like those at a Firestone Complete Auto Care. A vehicle check-up will help ensure that the engine, battery, exhaust system, heating and defrosting systems are all in good working order, and will make sure that the vehicle's main fluids are at the right level. For a certified technician in your area, visit www.Master CareUSA.com.

If you are on the road when bad weather hits, there are things you can do to stay safe. First, slow down. Taking it slow gives you more time to stop and improves tire traction.

Try to avoid abrupt movements when braking, accelerating or turning. Never pump the brake pedal on a car with an anti-lock brake system (ABS), since the system itself "pumps" the brakes automatically. ABS is designed to allow you to continue to steer the vehicle while in a panic stop by not allowing the wheels to lock up. Apply firm and continuous pressure to the brake pedal to activate the ABS operation. Always use your headlights to help other drivers see you.

In addition, outfit your vehicle with the right tires during inclement weather. Winter tires, such as the Bridgestone Blizzak, are technologically advanced to handle harsh winter driving conditions.

Winter tires have tread patterns and compounds that reduce the risk of slipping. Deeper treads on winter tires allow the tires to dig into the snow and propel your vehicle through it. Remember, the only part of your vehicle that touches the road is the tire.

Don't forget to check your tire pressure weekly during the colder months. As outside temperatures drop, the air pressure inside a tire decreases. Check your tires when the vehicle has been driven less than a mile or has not moved in more than three hours.

By following these simple steps you will be better prepared when Mother Nature strikes.

Trisha Hessinger, an automotive education specialist and former race car driver, is currently a national spokeswoman for Firestone Complete Auto Care's award-winning Car Care Academy program. For details, visit www.MasterCareUSA.com.





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