EXTREME Road Conditions

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Could your car handle these roads?

Winter across the country brings unpredictable weather and potentially hazardous road conditions. To prepare your car for any road condition in Atlanta, GA, call our team of ASE-Certified auto technicians at 404.445.0575.

While we prepare for the roads in our own town, we’re also taking a moment to consider these extreme road conditions. Could your car handle these roads?

road conditions - rainRain
Though rain seems harmless enough, heavy storms can create frightening road conditions. Rain and fog reduce visibility, and wet roads affect traction – in fact, 30% of ran-off-the-road accidents are caused by wet roads. The risk of hydroplaning combined with reckless drivers can make rain one of the most dangerous conditions for driving.

Prepare: Check your headlights so other drivers can see you through rain, mist, or fog. Test your air conditioning, defroster, windshield wipers and washer fluid to improve your own visibility during rain storms.

road conditions - iceIce
Ice, especially black ice, increases your chances of an accident. Be especially careful driving over areas where ice accumulates, including bridges, overpasses, and tunnels.

Prepare: Check your brakes and tires – make sure you have enough traction to handle slick roads, and that your brakes will stop your vehicle safely.

road conditions - mudMud
One negative side effect of weather is dirty, muddy roads. Thick mud on slick roads impairs your vehicle’s ability to stop and even makes it difficult to steer. Non-paved country roads can be especially treacherous for vehicles after a heavy rain or melted snow.

Prepare: Check your steering and brakes. If you often drive on dirt roads, have your alignment checked periodically to avoid damage to your wheels and tires. Take it slow, and avoid especially muddy back roads when possible.

road conditions - trafficTraffic
Unpredictable winter road conditions can compound traffic on already busy roads. The combination of stressful weather with road rage and impatient drivers means that winter traffic contributes to many car wrecks during this season.

Prepare: Regular inspections will keep your vehicle safely on the road, avoiding large and costly repairs and hassle after an accident on a busy road. Try these tips for avoiding traffic.

To prepare your vehicle for any road conditions in Atlanta, call us at 404.445.0575 or schedule an appointment online.

Building your Auto Emergency Kit

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No matter how carefully you drive, emergencies happen. Whether it’s an inconvenient flat tire, a bad car accident, or unpredictable weather, the last thing you want is to be stuck unprepared, stranded on the side of the road. And while emergencies may be inevitable, you can be ready to handle common situations with an auto emergency kit!

Auto emergency kits can be purchased in most auto parts stores, online, and even at stores like Walmart, but it’s easy to create your own. Below are ten things you should include in your auto emergency kit:

  1. Cell phone charger – Most people own and carry their cell phone nearly constantly. Using your cell phone while driving is always a bad idea, but it can be nice to have one with you in cases of emergency. It is best have your phone fully charged before you set out – Add a cell phone charger that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or other power source to your kit.
  2. emergency kit - reflective hazard trianglesReflective hazard triangles – These you may not have on hand, but you can find them at most auto supply stores or online. Reflective, pop-up hazard triangles can be placed in the road to warn other cars of your presence. Battery operated lights or flares can serve the same purpose.
  3. Jack and lug wrench – Most vehicles come equipped with these tools for changing a flat tire. You should also have a spare tire, and check the air pressure in it periodically (toss a tire gauge in the kit for good measure). Find the jack and wrench in your car, and know how to use them.
  4. First-aid kit – Keep a supply of bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain reliever in your car. It’s best to find build or buy a first-aid kit with supplies for treating a range of issues, including cuts and burns.
  5. Jumper cables – Lights left on all night, cold weather, and old batteries may leave you needing a jump start. Keep a pair of jumper cables in your car (don’t rely on a Good Samaritan to have one) and review how to jump start your car.
  6. Small bills and change – Whether you need to place a call on a pay phone or purchase snacks, keep a supply of cash for varied use in emergencies.
  7. Water and nonperishable food – Being stuck on the side of the road is bad enough, you don’t want to add hunger and thirst in the mix. A supply of snacks and water will keep you hydrated and satisfied until help comes. Don’t store perishables, like fruit, in your car for extended times.
  8. Spare fuses – Many electrical problems can be as simple as a burned out fuse. Keeping a spare fuse or two can help you get back on the road quicker! But not all fuses are created equal – be sure to have the appropriate type for your vehicle, and know how to change them properly before attempting on your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual or give us a call for advice.
  9. Gloves – Dealing with greasy parts and tools can wreak havoc on your hands. Keep a pair of work gloves for emergency repairs. They also help keep you warm in cold weather emergencies.
  10. Flashlight – Emergencies happen at inconvenient times. A flashlight can be invaluable at night to help changing a tire, exchanging insurance information, or walking outside the car. Even in the daylight, a flashlight can help illuminate issues under the hood. (It’s a good idea to keep extra batteries in your kit, too!)

You probably have most of these items already… gathering them up and keeping a set in your vehicle will help you in emergencies. Keep the phone number for our roadside assistance in Atlanta, GA and our shop in your glove box – 404.445.0575 – give us a call anytime, we are here for you!

Preparing for Fall and Winter Road Conditions

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fall-car-care-winter-road-prepIs your car ready for the changing weather? As summer comes to an end, we know that means cooling temperatures, rain, and falling leaves in Atlanta. It also means winter will be here before we know it!

As National Fall Car Care Month, this month is the perfect time to ask, “Is my car ready for winter?” Here are eight things you should check to make sure your car can handle the coming weather and road conditions:

  1. Tire pressure – Cooling temperatures can affect the pressure in your tires, as external pressure changes with the weather. Take a few moments to check your tires with a pressure gauge and make sure it’s filled to the recommended level. Proper tire pressure not only reduces the chance of a flat, but also improves fuel efficiency.
  2. Tire tread – Check your tire tread too! While 2/32” is the minimum acceptable tread on your tire, rain and snow conditions require more tread for safe driving. Your tires should have at least 4/32” of tread, without bulges, wear, or bald spots, so you don’t risk losing control of your car on slick roads.
  3. Windshield wipers – If you wait for the next rain storm to check your windshield wipers, you’re risking your safety. Get in the habit of running your washer fluid periodically – you’ll be able to monitor if your wipers need replaced, and you’ll have a cleaner windshield!
  4. Defroster/Heater – Also test your defroster before the cold weather hits. On the next cold morning, turn on your heater to make sure it’s working. Make sure air flow reaches your windshield and isn’t blocked in any spots. If it takes too long to warm the interior, bring your car in for a heating system inspection.
  5. Battery condition – As temperatures drop, your battery may begin to show signs of failure. Test your battery’s condition using a multimeter (or have it tested) to ensure it is operating in the acceptable range. If your battery is getting old or can’t hold the proper charge, your vehicle may not be able to start on cold mornings.
  6. Brakes – When roads are slick with rain and snow, your brakes are put to the test! Brakes are subject to wear and tear with normal use of a vehicle, which means you’ll need to have them serviced and replaced periodically. Have them inspected before the first storm so you know that they are up to the task.
  7. Cooling system – If you’ve been putting off your coolant flush, have it done before winter arrives. Coolant (aka antifreeze) is critical to keep your engine running at the proper temperature even when the weather gets cold.
  8. Winter tools – Chances are you took that pesky ice scraper out of your car to make room for summer gear. Now is the time to put it back in your trunk or glove box so you are prepared for early frosts of the year. It’s also a great time to start prepping your auto survival kit.

 

Pay attention to your vehicle as the weather changes – some systems that work fine during the summer may start to reveal warning signs this season. Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on manufacturer recommended maintenance, and address any concerns before they lead to bigger problems and costly repairs.

Stop by our shop for an inspection or schedule an appointment online to make sure your car is ready for this fall!