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Woman driving in winter with young child in back seat

Prepare Your Vehicle Now for a Safe Winter Driving Season

Winter is here, let’s make sure your vehicle is ready - inside and out! This year has familiarized us with a whole new way to live. One thing we have all come to appreciate is proper preparedness measures. When it comes to your auto, being ready for anything is a must. While a pandemic might be a once in a lifetime experience, and a breakdown a semi-common occurrence, the everyday stuff shouldn't be overlooked.

Answers to Your Winter Driving Questions

  1. Do you need to warm up your car?
    The answer is no. Warming up your vehicle is not mechanically necessary for modern engines. Moreover, letting it idle is prohibited or limited in many states. If you choose to warm up your car for comfort's sake, make sure you know the local idling laws in your area.
  2. Should you wear a coat under your seatbelt?
    This depends on the coat. You need your seatbelt to be fitted to your body to provide measured safety. This means puffy jackets are a no go. 
  3. Should your kids wear outerwear in the car?
    This depends on the previous factors.
    •  If they have puffy jackets, then they should be removed to ensure seat belt safety. (Which means you should probably check those idle laws so you can warm up your car.)
    • If they do wear a layer of outerwear you should be cautious not to overheat the cab of the vehicle. Just like engines, people can overheat in winter too!
  4. What's the difference between an emergency brake and a parking brake?
    The answer is nothing! They are the same thing and should be used for both emergencies and parking! Parking without using the parking and/or emergency brake can cause two issues:
    • Key parts in your transmission can wear out over time when using the park position as the only parking measure, especially on inclines when keeping your car parked is a harder job.
    • Your parking brake can corrode and weaken when it goes unused.
  5. How often should you start your car during a pandemic?
    This question may sound silly but it's actually crucial to your car health. Many of us are working remotely, getting groceries delivered, streaming new box office hits from home, I mean do we even need to leave the house anymore? Your auto sure does! It's important not to forget that your vehicle needs consistent use just like your parking brake! You should start your car at least once a week and let it run for a few minutes, it’s also a good idea to take it for a spin to keep your battery charged, and let's face it, a little time out of the house isn't gonna do us any harm either! Maybe you could even put on some jeans like a fancy person.
  6. Do you need to get your oil changed now that you're not driving as much?
    You may not need to stick to your sticker date as strictly, your car won't explode. However, oil still needs to be changed every 6 months regardless of mileage.

Essential Winter Maintenance Tips

A properly maintained vehicle is your first line of defense against unpredictable winter weather! A couple of basic but essential details that should be at the top of your list are:

  • Visibility - Being able to see your surroundings can be hard enough in dense fog, heavy rain, or thick snowfall, you don’t want to be impaired by mechanical difficulties as well.
  • Traction - Driving in rain, ice, and snow can be stressful. Having tires that are up to the challenge is invaluable!

We have plenty of easily digested resources here to help you get off and running! 

Basic Emergency Supplies Checklist

Scare tactics are no fun, and we don't like to use those. We aren't saying you need a bug out bag in every single room, but you do need some primary emergency supplies in your auto. Below is a basic emergency preparedness checklist to make stocking your auto an easier task on your To-Do List!

Personal Care Items:

  • Spare charged battery for your phone
  • Car charger for your phone.
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods, a packaged granola bar is great.
  • Bottled of drinking water
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid kit 

Vehicle maintenance items:

  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
  • Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help

Cold weather items: 

  • Snowbrush 
  • Shovel
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Cat litter for traction 
  • Warm clothing
  • Blankets

Your best defense is a good offense, we at North Hills Auto want to be your offense when it comes to battling the winter challenges ahead. Swing into North Hills Auto for our Fall and Winter Special and all your repair and maintenance needs.

Give us a call at Augusta St (864) 233-9002 or Butler Rd (864) 234-1002.

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