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Car Care Fall/Winter 2015

Improve fuel economy, page 3 Winter tire traction, page 5 Emergency kits, page 10

An advertising supplement produced by Peninsula Daily News and Sequim Gazette


Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

October 2015

Fall/Winter Car Care

Top driving distractions MetroCreative

Car Care Fall/Winter 2015

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Distracted driving — diverting one’s attention from the road for mere seconds — can have serious, and potentially fatal, consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found distracted driving kills more than 15 people each day while injuring more than 1,200. Any activity that takes attention away from driving is considered a distraction. These include taking your hands off the wheel, daydreaming or engaging in any behavior that takes your eyes off of the road. Certain activities are known distractions, and understanding which habits can be dangerous and making strides to correct behaviors can help save lives, prevent injuries and reduce accidentrelated expenses. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute indicated that 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes in the United States involve some form of driver distraction. This distraction took place a mere three seconds before the vehicle crash. An Allstate Canada marketing survey


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Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and near-crashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

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of 1,605 Canadian adults conducted between July 26 and July 28 found that, although the vast majority of Canadians thinks driving while distracted is unacceptable, nearly three out of four Canadian drivers admits to engaging in a behavior that is considered a distraction. That is perhaps in part because drivers are not aware just how distracting some the following behaviors truly are.

Fall/Winter Car Care

Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

October 2015

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Improve fuel economy MetroCreative Many motorists notice that their vehicles seem to get less miles per gallon in cold weather than in warm weather. That’s not a trick of the brain, as studies have shown that cars do, in fact, have poorer fuel in economy in cold weather. According to the United States Department of Energy, fuel economy tests have indicated that when driving in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12 percent lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. The disparity is even greater in hybrid vehicles, which can see their fuel economy decline by roughly 34 percent when driven at 20°F. Before drivers can understand how to improve their winter fuel economy, it’s beneficial to learn why cold weather has such an adverse effect on a car’s fuel economy. A host of factors combine to reduce fuel economy in the winter. When temperatures dip, engine oil and other drive-line fluids also get colder, and this increases engine and transmission friction. That forces the vehicle to work harder and use more fuel. An engine also takes longer to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature when the weather outside is cold. This won’t have too great an impact

on fuel efficiency when taking long trips, but the shorter the trip the less economical the vehicle’s use of fuel will be, as a shorter trip means the vehicle is spending a larger percentage of the overall drive at a less fuel efficient temperature. Another reason fuel economy suffers in the winter is the necessities and certain creature comforts drivers need when driving in the cold weather. Windshield defrosters and vehicle heating systems use a substantial amount of power, and that usage forces the vehicle to expend more energy and use more fuel. And while many drivers consider heated seats one of the greatest automotive inventions known to man, those seats also use up a lot of power that negatively impacts fuel economy. But factors outside the vehicle also impact its fuel economy in the winter. For example, colder temperatures decrease tire pressure, and that increases roll resistance, which means the car must work harder and use more fuel to get down the street than it would if it were riding on fully inflated tires in the summertime. Cold air also is more dense than warm air, and that increases aerodynamic drag on the vehicle, which then needs to use more fuel to counter the increased drag. So what can be done to improve fuel economy in the winter?

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Fall/Winter Car Care


Perhaps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they Accident rates have increased thanks saw someone they knew on the street to texting, which involves a person taking corner. his or her hands and eyes off of the road. It can be easy to veer into the direcA 2009 study by Car and Driver maga- tion your eyes are focused, causing an zine compared the dangers of texting accident. while driving to the effects of driving In addition to trying to stay focused on drunk to see which would be more dan- the road, some drivers prefer the help of gerous under the same conditions. lane departure warning systems. Measuring the time it takes to brake after being alerted by a red light to stop, EATING the reaction time was recorded when the Those who haven’t quite mastered driver was legally drunk, reading an email walking and chewing gum at the same and sending a text. time may want to avoid eating while Texting easily elicited the slowest driving. response time. The majority of foods require a perIronically, in January 2011, Texas man son’s hands to be taken off of the wheel Chance Bothe drove off of a cliff after and their eyes to be diverted from the texting that he had to stop texting or risk road. dying in a car accident. Reaching in the back seat to share Bothe survived but sustained signifisome french fries with the kids is also cant injuries and had to be revived from distracting. death three times. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. MOVING OBJECTS For those who must snack while en Whether there’s a pet bouncing in the route, take a moment to pull over at a front seat or children being boisterous in rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking the back, passengers and items moving there before resuming the trip. around the car are significant distractions. Turning around to look at the kids or READING to reach for a ball that may be rolling Glancing at an advertisement, updataround on the floor of the car can take a ing a Facebook status or reading a book person’s eyes off the road. are all activities that should be avoided If something really is important and when driving. needs to be addressed, it is much safer to Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS pull over and take care of it before getsystem can be distracting. ting back on the road. When driving, attention should be placed on the task of safely getting from DAYDREAMING Many people will admit to daydream- point A to point B. All other activities taking place in the ing behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for vehicle are distractions that can end up too long. risking a person’s life.

Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

Fall/Winter Car Care

October 2015

Get a grip on cold-weather tire traction


Matt Shackelford Les Schwab Tire Center, Sequim Winter is coming. Are you ready? How about your car? Is it “traction ready?” Do your driving needs require winter tires or are all-season tires sufficient? Having the right type of tires for your driving needs can save on those whiteknuckle experiences. With a little preparation, those times can be limited, and smooth sailing to grandma and grandpa’s house will be had by all. In the Pacific Northwest, we see all types of weather — from torrential rains to snow storms. Having the right tire can vary for everyone. For years, the most popular choice has been the studded tire, but the studless snow tire and specific all-season tires are becoming a lot more popular. An aggressive tread design tire with small metal studs, the studded tire is by far the best option when it comes to snow and ice. As you click-clack down the road, the open tread pattern grips away at snow while the studs bite into the slippery ice. But the convenience factor is diminished some due to the fact that they are only legal from Nov. 1-April 1, thus creating the rush to change from all-season tires to studded every fall and back again in the spring. Another option that is gaining a lot of popularity is the studless snow tire. Studless tires use a combination of tread design and special rubber compounds to create traction. Like a studded tire, an aggressive tread pattern is used, but in that tread pattern is bunch of small cuts called “siping.” This siping creates a lot more biting surface on the road and is paired with a

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to the now widely accepted guideline that recommends idling for no more Fortunately, drivers can take several than half a minute. steps to do just that. Another nugget of conventional •  Park the vehicle in a garage. wisdom motorists may want to ignore Leaving your car in the driveway in the concerns the motor oil they use in the winter means you might have to dig the winter. vehicle out come winter snowstorms. Many vehicle manufacturers now But that’s not the only inconvenience recommend a specific type of oil to use of parking your vehicle outside in the when driving in cold weather, so follow winter, as doing so can adversely affect that advice instead of adhering to past its fuel economy. practices that may not have been as fuel When possible, park the car in the ga- efficient. rage, as this increases the initial temper• Monitor tire pressure. ature of the engine, engine oil, drive-line As noted, colder temperatures decrease fluids and the vehicle’s cabin. tire pressure, so drivers should monitor •  Disregard conventional wisdom. their tire pressure regularly throughout winConventional wisdom has long sugter to keep their vehicle safe and to ensure gested that idling a vehicle for several they are not wasting fuel. minutes will warm up the engine more • Remove the roof rack. Summer adventurists who love tying quickly than simply driving. their mountain bike or kayak to their veBut many vehicle manufacturers now recommend that drivers idle their hicles’ roof rack before heading off to exvehicles for no more than 30 seconds, plore parts unknown should remove those noting that idling the car unnecessarily roof racks when the temperatures dip. wastes fuel and that driving the vehicle is Roof racks increase wind resistance the fastest way to warm up its engine. and decrease fuel economy, so remove If you must warm up the vehicle, stick them during the offseasons.

special rubber compound that gets stickier the colder it becomes. You now have a great traction tire that is quiet and has good performance in wet, dry or snowy weather. Although it is legal to use year-round, this tire design will wear faster in the warmer months, so changing from winter and summer is advised.

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Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

October 2015

Fall/Winter Car Care

Car battery care makes for safer winter driving MetroCreative Few things can be more frustrating than jumping into the driver’s seat on a frosty morning, turning the key in the ignition and failing to hear the engine roar to life. Frigid weather can cause trouble with a car’s battery. Some drivers do not understand why, but getting the facts can help people avoid having to deal with dead batteries on cold winter days. Cold temperatures wreak havoc on batteries because they slow the chemical reaction inside of the battery. Batteries work by combining lead plates with lead dioxide and sulfuric acid to create electrons. While batteries can function under myriad conditions, the cold weather tends to degrade high-quality batteries and may render subpar batteries useless. a charge, and, as a result, the car won’t The cold weather can cause the fluid in start. There are various ways to protect the battery to freeze and lose function. a battery from failure in the cold, and A battery that is frozen will not hold







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inspect the battery to keep abreast of issues that may cause corrosion. Carefully clean away any corrosive residue that has formed and make sure the battery is correctly seated. •  Install a battery blanket. A battery blanket is used to wrap around the battery and fit inside of the battery cover. A cord with a plug runs from the blanket to a wall outlet. The blanket can produce enough heat to keep the battery fluid from freezing. A trickle charger can also be mounted on the battery. It will deliver enough power to the battery while the car is off to keep it from freezing. •  Minimize the use of automotive accessories. Do not start the car with the heater and the radio on. some of them involve taking precautionThey can use up the power coming ary measures even before the arrival of from the car’s alternator and prevent the cold weather. battery from charging. •  Assess the age of your battery. Do not leave the heat and the radio If your battery is old, now may be the on while the car is idling; otherwise, time to replace it. the car will not be putting out enough Batteries differ in how long they last, power for the alternator to charge the but many last anywhere from five to 10 battery and power the electrical systems. years. •  Disconnect the battery. If your car is still running on its original If your car will be stored in a garage battery and your car is several years old, it may be a good idea to get a new bat- for the winter, disconnect the battery. Certain devices, such as clocks and tery before the arrival of winter. alarm systems, continue to drain battery Battery size will not necessarily provide power when the vehicle is off. better starting. If your car will not be driven enough It’s important to buy the correct battery to recharge the battery, keep it disconfor the make of your car, which can usually nected when the automobile is being be found inside of the owner’s manual. stored. •  Verify that there is no corrosion. Cold weather can sometimes wreak Corrosion can prevent a car from starthavoc on vehicles. ing just as much as a worn-out battery. Knowing how to skirt trouble with your Corrosion is caused by a faulty conneccar’s battery can keep your car on the tion that allows battery acid to escape and corrode surrounding areas. Regularly road throughout the winter.



Fall/Winter Car Care

Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

Things to know about motor oil


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All-season tires have come a long way over the years in terms of traction and wear. Tread designs offer quiet, long-lasting traction used year-round in most conditions. As mentioned earlier, siping can add a lot more traction to any tire. On the studless tires, siping is built into the mold when the tire is being made. While the same is true on allseason tires, there is minimal benefit from the factory. This is why additional siping, usually during installation, is so helpful


in the aid of traction, especially for our climate here in the Pacific Northwest. While not quite to level of traction seen with studded or studless tires, having a good all-season tire with siping offers affordable, year-round traction. No matter if you drive a little or a lot or if you charge into a snowstorm or stay at home to wait it out, regularly checking over the tread depth and air pressure of your tires can alert you to any problems that may develop with your tires and help you prepare for bad weather driving. These things can go a long way to getting you “traction ready,” and grandma and grandpa will appreciate it, too.

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black then it needs to be meaning switching back changed. and forth from one to When it comes to takBut nowadays automo- the other is not likely to ing care of their vehicles, cause any damage to your tive professionals are many motorists prefer to vehicle. noting that black oil is be overly cautious. •  Consider an earlier oil doing its job and different While that’s not necesadditives might be chang- change after buying a new sarily a bad thing, there vehicle. ing the oil’s color, which are times when being too Sometimes a new vehimeans the oil doesn’t cautious can unnecessarily need to be changed. cle will need an oil change cost you money. •  You can use petroafter its first 3,000 miles. Motor oil, and when to This does not mean leum-based oil after using change that oil, has long your vehicle will need one synthetic. been a point of contention. every 3,000 miles. Another longstanding Many drivers grew up According to Blackstone myth regarding motor oil being told that motor oil Laboratories, which studwas that once you use a should be changed every synthetic motor oil instead ies motor oil, oil samples 3,000 miles; however, that of a petroleum-based taken from engines during myth has been debunked oil you have to continue their initial 3,000 miles for many of today’s veusing synthetic oil, which of driving had elevated hicles, which should come is often more expensive metal levels from the camwith suggested intervals than more traditional shafts and pistons. between oil changes. motor oil, in order to These elevated levels According to Edmunds. avoid harming the vehicle; will not necessarily be com, in 2010 the average however, automotive pro- harmful, but some auto interval for oil changes fessionals have noted that manufacturers recomwas 7,800 miles. these two types of oils mend a shorter initial In addition to changare now often blended, interval just to be safe. ing a car’s motor oil less frequently, there are other things drivers should know See Donn & Freddie about motor oil. for all your Chassis Maintenance •  Oil does not necesNeeds sarily need to be changed before a long trip. Taking a trip? While it’s good to have your car including but examined before embarknot limited to: ing, if the recommended FWD oil change interval is not & up, then you do not need 4WD to preemptively change Half your oil. Shaft CV Such a change is likely Brakes • Trailer Surge & Electric• Struts Replacement unnecessary and will not Shocks • Wheel Bearings • Hitches improve the performance of your vehicle during the Lift & Lower Kits • U-Joints trip. Most Flywheels Surfaced •  Black oil does not necessitate a change. Conventional wisdom once suggested if the 120 S. Albert • Port Angeles • 452-7991 oil on the dipstick is MetroCreative

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October 2015


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October 2015

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Fall/Winter Car Care

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: a well-stocked kit can be a life-saver By Susan Stuart Circle & Square Auto Care, Port Hadlock We have had such a glorious spring, summer and fall this year, but it is time to start thinking about winter travel. Winter can be tough on car and driver, and there are some simple strategies/tips to help make travel safer and less stressful. Check your tires and make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm. Check your tread depth and tire pressure during cold weather. The best thing to do would have an Automotive Service Excellencecertified technician use a tire tread depth gauge, which would be part of a winterization scheduled maintenance at most places. Another option is to insert a quarter into the tread of the tire, with George Washington’s head upright. If you can see the hairline of the United States’ first president, then you need to replace the tire. Perform this test on each of your vehicle’s four tires. Remember, tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so planning ahead will eliminate some of the delay. Get a vehicle winter maintenance check-up. Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers. Keep your fuel tank full; don’t let it fall below half a tank on winter trips. Program your radio for traffic reports and emergency messages (for WSDOT radio: 530 and 1610 AM). Add some winter “travel gear,” such as tire chains, ice scraper/snowbrush and jumper cables, and you will be ready to head out with a sense of security and readiness. Last but not least, keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle.

Include essential items like adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, bandages, a cold com•  First-aid kit: A first-aid kit can treat cuts and abrasions suffered while press, gauze and scissors. Visit for a more you are out of the car and even some extensive list of items to include in minor injuries that may result if you your first-aid kit, which should be kept are in a car accident.


in your car at all times. • Tools: It’s important to include tools in your automotive emergency kit. While a full toolbox might be unnecessary, bring along an adjustable wrench, a flat head and Phillips

screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a tire jack and crow bar, an ice scraper and a flashlight. Extra roadside flares and reflectors also should be packed should you need to pull over and address an automotive problem, such as a flat tire. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment or with your other tools so you can check tire pressure if you feel your car is not operating as smoothly as it normally does. • Fluids: While it’s best to check all of your vehicle’s fluids before beginning a long trip, it does not hurt to bring along some extra fluids just in case you start to run low while out on the road. Fluids to pack include motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. Include a funnel with these items so you can easily pour them in should you be running low. Pack an empty spray bottle as well so you have something to spray washer fluid from if a problem arises with your wiper blades. • Wiper blades: Include an extra set of wiper blades in your automotive emergency kit. Maintaining wiper blades is an oftoverlooked component of vehicle maintenance, so bring along an extra set of blades should your existing blades succumb to wear and tear while you’re on the road. • Miscellaneous items: Some items that may not seem synonymous with road trips can come in handy should you find yourself in an emergency. Pack a blanket so you and your passengers can stay warm should your car break down at night. In addition, pack some energy bars and bottled water so no one gets too hungry or thirsty while waiting for help to arrive. It also is good to keep a pair of work gloves in your car so you can still use your tools or change a tire when the temperatures dip or your hands get sweaty on hot days. Information from MetroCreative was used in this article.

Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

Fall/Winter Car Care

October 2015

Falling leaves present safety hazards on roads


MetroCreative Watching leaves turn brilliant shades of color and fall from the trees is a favorite activity each autumn. While falling leaves can be a sight to behold, those leaves can become a nuisance to drivers in various ways. Understanding certain inconveniences and safety risks posed by falling leaves can help motorists protect their vehicle and themselves.


Leaves can do more than just stain driveways; they also can damage a vehicle’s paint job. Should wet leaves, sap and other chemicals that leach out of the leaves stay on a car for an extended period of time, they can cause an outline stain and damage to the paint. It’s important to manually pick leaves off of the car’s surface right after they fall. Do not sweep them away; otherwise, the leaves can scratch the paint surface. When all the leaves have been removed, thoroughly wash and dry the vehicle. Should stains be present already, use a commercial leaf-stain remover or automotive paint cleaner. Tackle one stain at a time.


Leaves that fall can become trapped in air intake vents, eventually impeding flow and causing odors.

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Leaves that fall in the groove of the windshield by the windshield wipers should be removed. Use a high-powered shop vacuum to remove any leaves that are imbedded in the venting. Check other areas of the car where leaves can become problematic, such as under the vehicle or in the exhaust pipe.


Wet leaves can make roadways quite slippery, even as slippery as roadways when snow is falling. Drivers should slow down when roads are covered with wet leaves and take turns and off-ramps more carefully. Dry leaves also can pose problems, as they tend to accumulate at the edges of roads, where they easily can obscure curbs or street markings. Leaves may fill potholes, giving the false impression that a road is smooth and causing damage to tires and suspension systems when drivers drive over them.


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Fall/Winter Car Care

Well-maintained headlights improve driver safety MetroCreative Few drivers remember to maintain their headlights, a potentially dangerous oversight that can compromise the safety of drivers and their fellow motorists. When coupled with inclement weather, outdated or dirty headlights can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and other vehicles. Because headlights can have such a dramatic impact on driver safety, it’s important that motorists take the following steps to maintain their headlamps. •  Recognize when bulbs start to dim. As headlight bulbs age, their light output is reduced by the effects of humidity, electrical resistance, filament fatigue and general usage. Drivers should pay attention to how their headlights are performing, replacing any bulbs that are no longer providing adequate light. •  Upgrade your headlight bulbs. Bulbs that have started to dim need to be replaced, but auto enthusiasts or maintenance-savvy drivers know they can upgrade their bulbs when replacing them. Industry experts recommend replacing headlamp bulbs every two years, and replacing them in pairs to make sure the vehicle’s lighting is equally balanced. But rather than sticking with the bulbs provided by

Standard, old headlamps, left, versus new, clean bulbs, right. the car maker, look for a bulb that makes it easier to see at night and during hazardous conditions. •  Buy the bulbs that match your driving habits. Some drivers spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel while others use their cars or trucks only to run errands or make short trips. When replacing bulbs that have dimmed, be sure to choose a bulb that fits your driving habits. •  Keep wiper blades fresh. Wiper blades should be changed every three months, as they can become brittle over time and, depending

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on their frequency of use, can wear out, especially on older vehicles with pitting on the windshield. When inspecting the wiper blades, remember to inspect your windshield washer as well, making sure that the washers are operating effectively and that the washer fluid basin has been refilled. •  Clean the interior glass and mirrors. Dirty interior glass and mirrors make it difficult for drivers to see fellow motorists, so make removing any film buildup on such surfaces part of your routine vehicle maintenance.

With the holiday season fast approacing, people are starting to plan their budgets for gifts and potentially a decorative tree. Although it’s a joyous time of year, there are some ways to make it safer for all those involved when it comes to transportation. Here are a few tips for packing up your car so they do not slide or move around. car with gifts and transporting a tree. Anything that is not secured can become airborne in the event of a collision, PACKING THE CAR increasing the risk for injury. If a holiday road trip is in your future, Items placed on roof racks should be space constraints may require you to be tightly secured so they don’t fall off and a little creative when packing the car. present a hazard. Shop for smaller gifts, including gift cards, which are easier to transport. Advise family and friends that you will TRANSPORTING THE TREE have limited space so they should not Ask the tree seller to freshly cut the go overboard with regard to gifts given bottom of the tree and wrap the entire to you in return. tree in twine so it will be easier to move. Heed safety precautions and do not Place the tree on the roof of your car obscure driver visibility in the car by with the trunk facing the front of the car. stacking presents too high. This way the wind will not fan out the Also, secure boxes and packages in the branches and loosen up needles.

Fall/Winter Car Care

Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

Tips for driving in rain


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be sure you can stop. Brake earlier so that other drivers Rainy weather can arrive any time of understand your intentions and can react year. accordingly. While an afternoon spent indoors •  Avoid extremely large puddles. watching the drops fall can be relaxing, First of all, you cannot judge the depth driving in the rain is anything but. of the puddle and you may end up It requires extra concentration and getting stuck, especially in the event of improved reaction time. roadway flooding. Rainy conditions can be challenging Water splashing into the engine comand treacherous, and drivers should propartment may damage electrical comceed with caution on rain-slicked roads. ponents. Steer around puddles to be on Rain is blamed for many accidents, the safe side. but many of these situations are largely •  Use extra care watching out for preventable among drivers who adapt pedestrians. A normally observant to the weather and roadway conditions. person may be distracted by the rain, Here are some things to consider. puddles and wrangling an umbrella and •  Reduced visibility occurs from veer into the path of cars. wiper blades, glare (particularly at Be mindful of the side of the roads night) and heavy downpours. and where pedestrians may be, such as When you are unable to see the road around parked cars. ahead, including other vehicles, reduce •  Change wiper blades every three your speed. months, depending on use. If the rain is coming down in torrents, You do not want to be caught with pull over to the side of the road and wait shoddy wiper blades in poor conditions. for a respite. Without an effective wiper blade, rain Turn on your lights to ensure you are cannot be cleared efficiently from the visible to other cars on the road. windshield. •  Recognize that rain can cause slick •  Limit distractions inside of the car conditions. to focus even more of your attention A film of water develops on the roadon the road. ways, and that can affect the perforWhile some have become accustomed mance of your vehicle’s tires. to answering phone calls or fielding Less traction means the car can slip questions from the backseat while drivand slide. ing, avoid such distractions when driving Hydroplaning, or coasting on the surin the rain. face of the water, is common. Turn down the radio if you must and Another, lesser-known condition is encourage passengers to remain quiet slickness caused by grease and oil in the until safely home. asphalt. •  Leave extra time to get to your During a long dry spell, these subdestination. Rain causes slowing down stances build up on the roads. of traffic. When it rains, the oil and water Rushing may increase your risk of being doesn’t mix, bringing the oils to the sur- in an accident, so always leave extra travel face and exacerbating slick conditions. time when driving in wet conditions. The first few hours of a rainstorm can •  Make way for emergency perbe quite dangerous until heavier rains sonnel. Accidents and bad weather are wash the oils away. common. •  Water spraying up onto tires and Slow down or pull over to allow emerbrakes can compromise braking ability. gency vehicles to pass by. That means it could take longer to If there are flashing lights on the side stop under wet conditions. of the road, move into the left lane to Leave extra room between vehicles, give a wide girth around first responders. and do not tailgate. Driving in the rain requires drivers to If you drive through a puddle of water, exercise caution. Making a few adjustpump the brakes and test them out to ments improves safety on the roadways. MetroCreative

October 2015


Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

October 2015

Fall/Winter Car Care

Handle car trouble while driving If the vehicle can’t make it to the median, put your emergency flashers on and get out of the car, moving away from both the vehicle and traffic. Immediately call for emergency roadside assistance. • Use flares or triangles to alert other drivers. So long as you are not risking your well-being, you can place flares and/ or warning triangles behind your vehicle so oncoming traffic knows to drive around it. AAA recommends placing the first flare or triangle 10 feet directly behind the side of the vehicle that is closest to the road. The second should be placed between 30 and 60 feet (increase the distances as the posted speed limit increases) behind the middle of the bumper, while the third flare or triangle should be placed between 120 and 360 feet behind the side of the vehicle that’s farthest frin the road. • Stay with the vehicle. Once you have called for help and set up flares or triangles, stay with the vehicle at a safe distance.

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in your car, even if the spare is a donut you can temporarily use to Sudden car trouble is something replace a flat tire until you make no driver wants to experience, but it to a filling station or automotive many a driver has been driving supply store. down the highway only to feel his Keep a fully stocked first aid or her vehicle start to sputter. kit in your vehicle in case you cut When car trouble strikes while yourself while changing the tire or a vehicle is on the road, the first need to address another medical thing many drivers do is check their situation. fuel gauges. • Make note of your surroundings. A car that runs out of gas is cerSome car troubles can only be fixed tainly inconvenient, but if you can by the professionals, so pay careful pull over to the shoulder or make attention to your surroundings in it to the nearest filling station, then case an issue arises and forces you to this unfortunate situation can be pull over and call for help. remedied rather easily. Always pay attention to mile markBut when a car’s tank is full and ers and any landmarks that might it is still showing signs of trouble, help you describe where you are. drivers must take steps to protect • Pull over. Don’t panic if an issue themselves, their passengers and arises suddenly. Remain calm and their vehicles. pull over onto the shoulder. The following are a few simple The right shoulder is the area for tips motorists should keep in mind pulling over on most roads, but you so they can safely handle any car may also use the left shoulder on trouble that may arise while they multilane highways with medians. are out on the road. Try to get as far away from traffic as •  Keep a first-aid kit, spare tire possible without driving off of level and tire jack in the car at all times. ground, and always use your signals Always keep a jack and spare tire when pulling onto the shoulder. MetroCreative

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Routinely checking tire pressure and inflating underinflated tires is one way drivers can reduce their risk of flat tires and blowouts.

Warning signs a tire is about to go flat MetroCreative Flat tires range from the inconvenient flats, which may interrupt a road trip or make drivers late for work or an appointment, to more dangerous blowouts, which can compromise the safety of drivers, their passengers and anyone else on the road when the tire gives out. But as inconvenient or dangerous as flats or blowouts can be, they also can be prevented more often than not. Tires often produce warning signs that a flat or blowout is about to emerge, so drivers who want to avoid such unfortunate developments can inspect their tires for the following signs. •  Varying wear: Tires should exhibit the same type of wear. The wear on front tires and back tires may differ, but one front tire should have the same amount of wear as the other and the same goes for the back tires. • Low pressure: Drivers who do not routinely check their tire pressure are more likely to endure a flat or blowout than those who regularly make sure their tires are at the manufacturer-recommended pressure. An underinflated tire is under stress that can cause the tire to blowout. In addition, poorly inflated tires force engines to work harder, which negatively affects a car’s fuel efficiency. • Vibration: A car that vibrates excessively may do so because tires are damaged. Poor suspension is another cause of excessive vibration. Whatever is behind a car that is vibrating, drivers should immediately take the car to their mechanic for an inspection. • Physical damage to the tire: Sometimes tires exhibit physical damage like bulges or cuts, and such signs could mean a flat tire or blowout is just around the corner. Tires that exhibit such physical damage need to be replaced immediately.

Fall/Winter Car Care

Peninsula Daily News/Sequim Gazette

October 2015


Animals on the road MetroCreative

Scrapers should only be used on windows and not on the body of the car.

Snow, ice threaten cars MetroCreative



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Winter can be an unforgiving season. While it can test people’s patience, it also can be harsh on cars and trucks. Understanding what components of a vehicle can be compromised by dropping temperatures and snowy roads can help drivers take action to safeguard their automotive investments. Properly servicing and caring for a car or truck can help. Drivers should take their vehicles for a tune-up and inspection before wintry weather arrives. A mechanic will examine the car battery and check antifreeze levels and make sure that the thermostat, defroster, brakes and even wiper blades are working effectively. Have the tires inspected for adequate tread, which can make navigating roads safer. If the treads are worn, replace the tires. In addition to visiting their mechanics, drivers can perform some inspections and fixes themselves. •  Check that all of the vehicle’s lights are operational so your car can be easily seen during inclement weather. Exchange your existing windshield washer fluid with one that will not freeze

in cold conditions. Check the nozzles on the windshieldwasher system routinely and clear out any blockages of ice or debris. While addressing windshield washer fluid, also replace worn out windshield wiper blades with ones that can withstand snow and icy weather. •  A new coating of wax can serve as a shield against road salt, snow, sleet and rain. Try a polymer wax to protect the paint. Whenever possible, rinse off salt and grime so it does not dry on the car and gradually wear away at the paint. Be sure to rinse off the undercarriage of the vehicle as well. •  Have your tires’ alignment checked toward the end of winter or early spring. A season of traveling over pothole-ridden roads or hitting curbs buried under snow drifts can affect the alignment. •  Use a soft snow brush or a foam brush to clear snow off of the car. Avoid hard plastic scrapers you might use on your windshield, as they can scratch painted surfaces. •  Try to park the vehicle in a garage or under a car port. Vehicles can be affected by the cold weather. Keep them running efficiently to prevent damage this winter.

Move slowly in the direction the animal was coming from if it’s safe, Drivers may have mixed feelings on as animal instinct is to dart out in the whether to put their lives in jeopardy to direction it was going. save an errant animal, but sometimes •  Be aware of your surroundings at there is little time to make a decision. all times. As more neighborhoods and roadScan the edges of the road to see if ways infringe on natural habitats, animals are present. incidents of animals on the roadways Dawn and dusk are key times for anifigure to increase. mals to be on the move looking for food. Deer, elk and smaller animals can Autumn is both hunting and mating wander out onto busy roads, and season for deer, and they tend to travel there’s no foolproof way to prevent it. a lot during this time of year. According to State Farm Insurance, •  Obey speed limits and take signs an estimated 1.25 million claims hapwarning of animal crossing hotspots pened in the past year resulting from seriously. animal-car accidents. •  Should you hit an animal, do not The odds drivers will have a claim exit the car and approach it. from hitting an animalsis 1 out of 169. Injured animals can be dangerous, with Knowing what to do when encounpain driving them to flail, kick or bite. tering animals on the road can help Sharing roadways with animals is drivers avoid accidents and injuries. tricky. Remaining alert, slowing down •  Experts advise drivers to remain in highly populated wildlife areas and in their lanes and to attempt to slow avoiding swerving can reduce risk of down as quickly as possible when encountering animals on the road. accident or injury.

Special Sections - Car Care Fall-Winter 2015  
Special Sections - Car Care Fall-Winter 2015