Two times during the year are most important for your vehicle: Spring and Fall. Last Spring I blogged about April as being Spring Car Care Month. Now you need to get ready for winter. While many of the tech tips I presenting in April are still very valid for Fall (read Auto Upkeep’s top ten list from April), you need to take a few additional steps to get ready for cooler weather (especially if you live in areas that get snow and ice).
1. Add your local reputable tow truck company’s phone number in your cell phone. That way if you are stuck in a snow pile or need a jump, the number is handy.
2. Add tire chains to your trunk if you live in an area that has chain control laws. Check out California’s chain control requirements.
3. Be sure you have a set of jumper cables in the trunk. Remember the lower gauge number, the better (more heavy duty) the cables. For example a 4 gauge jumper cable is better than a 10 gauge jumper cable. And most importantly, only perform a battery jump start if you know the proper steps.
4. In addition to a standard Roadside Emergency Kit, you may want to supplement it with a Severe Weather Kit.
5. Add ICE to your cell phone address book. ICE is the acronym for In Case of Emergency. This assists first responders in contacting your loved ones if you are hurt and unconscious. For example, put ICE-MOM or ICE-DAD in your cell phone address book. See this article on I.C.E. from the Oakland County, Michigan Department of Homeland Security.
6. Finally, check the tread depth on your tires. You should have a minimum of 2/32″ of tread (and preferably more) on your tires. Anything less than 2/32″ is legally worn out. Most new passenger tires come with 11/32″ of tread. The more tread you have on your tires, the better traction you will have. Here is an article from TireRack.com on how to measure tread depth with coins.
If you do need to take your vehicle to a repair facility, AAA (the nation’s leading Auto Club) has “tips on how to speak auto technicians“.