The 'Four T's' to prepare your car for winter weather - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

The 'Four T's' to prepare your car for winter weather

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When getting ready for winter weather, you can never over-prepare. Keep the four T's in mind: your tank, tires, test car brakes and trunk.  

"It's a great idea to have your tank as full as possible for several reasons: one, if there's no electricity you can't buy any gas. Two, condensation fills inside a gas tank - the more gas, the less condensation," says Gary Freeman of C&G Auto.

While a full tank is your best bet, in keeping your fuel line from freezing, you want to make sure it's at least half full at all times.

Experts at C&G Auto say gassing up is just as important as filling up your tires.

"Slick tires are your enemy when it comes to slick roads. Whether it's front wheel or rear wheel drive, you need really good tread on your tires," says Freeman.

You can check the tread depth, from home, before you brave the weather.

"One of the old tricks is to take a penny and put the penny in the tire tread and if you can see all of Lincoln's head, it's time to get some tires," he says.

The third of the 'Four T's' is test.  Test your brakes to be ready for slick roads.  The condition of your brakes depends on fluid levels.  Make sure brake fluid is filled to the "max," fluid line.  Experts say if you fill beyond that point, you will see a mess, worse than what you'll see on the roads.

In winter weather, batteries are the first to go, so take time to get your battery checked.

"If you haven't done this year, have your battery checked. It's free, takes about 2 minutes and you can tell if it's in good condition or has to be replaced," says Freeman.

Finally - don't forget to make use of your trunk.  Fill up your trunk with emergency items.  Think of things you'll need if you get stuck such as a shovel, blanket, snacks and water.

Keep sand or kitty litter in your trunk and if your car can't move, pour it in the path of your wheels to get traction.  This will keep you from slamming on your brakes if you get stuck.

Some conditions are hard to prepare for or see, like black ice.  When driving in winter weather, remember to think slow: slow speed, steering and braking.

Be especially careful on overpasses, exit ramps and intersections; these spots freeze first.

Avoid any abrupt actions on the roads and try not to use cruise control- that'll give you more control over your car.

Mechanics at C&G Auto say a general rule of thumb is to be a car length apart from other cars, for every 10 miles an hour you drive.  For example, if you're driving 30 mph, leave 3 cars' distance from your car to the car in front of you.

Keep an emergency kit in your trunk:

  • Water and snacks

  • Blanket

  • A shovel

  • Windshield scraper

  • Flashlight

  • Battery powered radio

  • Extra batteries

  • Matches

  • Extra hats, socks, gloves and clothes

  • First aid kit with pocket knife

  • Necessary medications

  • Tow chain or rope

  • Road salt/sand/kitty litter

  • Booster cables


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