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Car Maintenance >> Fall-Winter

Winter's Coming – Is Your Car Ready?

(ARA) – Dark skies, icy roads and rain or snow coming at you from all directions. Soon, this will be the reality for drivers across the country. How will you and your car handle the challenge?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more accidents happen between October and March than during any other time of the year. The reasons are obvious -- poor road conditions and reduced visibility. So what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic? Before conditions turn bad, take your vehicle to a certified technician who will make sure it’s ready for winter.

A professional technician will check every critical system on your vehicle. This should include the engine, battery, transmission, cooling and braking systems. He or she will also inspect your tires, windshield wipers and fluid, headlights and taillights.

* Wipers and Windshield Washer Fluid

Most manufacturers recommend that wiper blades be replaced every six months, and with winter right around the corner, now is a good time to invest in some heavy-duty wipers. Many technicians are suggesting their customers install ANCO Winter Wiper Blades. These premium winter blades are designed with a rugged rubber cover over a heavy-duty frame which prevents slush from freezing up in the joints. Unlike other rubber blades, they will not tear or rot due to ozone or ultraviolet-induced wear and will remain flexible under a vast range of temperatures.

In addition, your technician will refill the windshield washer fluid in your vehicle. If you live in a northern climate, the fluid they use will have a low freezing point so windows can be easily cleared during a snow or ice storm.

* Tires and Braking System

A lot is riding on your tires, so giving them a checkup before the weather conditions turn bad is critical. They will be inspected for wear and tear, and to make sure they are properly inflated according to manufacturer recommendations.

Along with the tires, your braking system will also get a checkup. If your vehicle squeals to a stop every time you enter an intersection, your vehicle pulls to the side when braking, or your vehicle shakes when the brakes are applied, you’ll definitely want to get your brake system inspected before winter arrives. For consumers who want high quality, quiet brakes with long life, many technicians are now recommending ThermoQuiet disc brake pads. The one-piece, integrally molded insulator (IMI) design eliminates the squeaks and vibration often associated with other brake pads, while still providing superior stopping power. Its patented, heat-dissipating configuration also extends the life of the braking system well beyond that of most conventional pads.

* Headlights and Taillights

Winter means extended hours of darkness. Making sure your car has strong, well-directed headlights at night, and in poor weather conditions, is another critical part of the winter safety inspection. Glare occurs when the ground is covered with snow and ice and, suddenly, another vehicle’s headlights are directed at your vehicle.

You can’t do much about the other guy on the road, but you can improve your visibility by switching to a headlight that not only cuts down on glare but better illuminates the road. Wagner TruView headlamps filter out yellow rays within the lamp’s projected color spectrum. The end result is a truer, whiter light that offers exceptional visibility in nighttime or inclement driving conditions without the offensive glare.

Replacing your headlights can make a big difference in the quality of your night vision, but that’s not the only way you can improve it. Here are some other simple steps recommended by the National Safety Council.

* Prepare your car for night driving by cleaning headlights, taillights, signals and windows. Even a thin layer of road grime on the lens can block up to 90 percent of the light and severely restrict your ability to see at night.

* Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights reduce your ability to see the road and blind other drivers.

* Don’t “overdrive” your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area. If you can’t, you’re creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

Wagner TruView headlamps, ThermoQuiet brake pads, and Anco HydroClear wipers blades are available for most domestic and foreign name-plate vehicles. For more information, log on to, or inquire at your local retail auto parts store or repair shop. Courtesy of ARA Content

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