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 Omaha, NE, this winter, call our team of ASE-Certified auto technicians at 402-896-5800.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Winter roads are slick in Omaha, and across Nebraska. As you drive along snowy, icy roads this winter, use extra caution to remain in control of your vehicle to avoid slides and skids.
At Auto Station, we’ve seen many of our customers’ vehicles suffer damage from sliding into a curb on slick winter roads. Even though this seems like a small mistake, hitting a curb can have major impacts on your car. Don’t ignore it! Stop by our auto shop to have an inspection before small damage causes big problems. Call us at 402-896-5800 to schedule an appointment.
Potential issues from hitting a curb:
- Hitting a curb even going as slow as 5-10 mph can have a major impact on the performance of your tires. Tire wear damage is possible in as little as 200 miles after a curb impact.
- Tie Rods are the connection between your steering system and the wheels. Any damage to the tie rods can severely inhibit your ability to steer, especially important when roads are slick.
- The control arms allow up and down movement of the suspension while holding the knuckles, spindles, and axles firmly onto the car. Jarring from hitting a curb can cause extreme damage to the control arms and suspension of your vehicle.
- A steering knuckle contains the wheel hub or spindle and attaches to the suspension components. It is variously called a steering knuckle, spindle, upright or hub, as well. Damage to steering knuckles also impacts suspension and steering your vehicle.
- Tires and Wheels can be damaged as well. If you suspect tire damage, have it inspected immediately to avoid costly problems.
What should you do?
If you hit a curb, call us at 402-896-5800 to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Our certified technicians will make sure your vehicle can keep you safely on the road, without risking extensive damage and costly future repairs.
An alignment check is a small expense, but can save your vehicle many miles and dollars from costly issues. If an adjustment is needed, this inspection can save many miles on your tires, and help you get more miles out of every dollar if other issues are found (by catching and fixing small problems before they lead to extensive damage and costly repairs). But more importantly, a check will provide peace of mind that you and your family will stay safe while driving, especially as it gets really cold in Nebraska.
Don’t ignore the fact that you just hit a curb! Call today to have your vehicle inspected.
Stay safe and warm this week (and all winter) in Omaha. To prepare your vehicle for cold weather, stop by Auto Station for an inspection: 402-896-5800.
Winter is here in Omaha, NE. Unseasonably cold weather has hit even places like the Deep South. With the polar vortex as a regular occurrence in our winters, below zero temperatures, and snow in places that don’t normally see snow, you need to be prepared for winter hazards.
When snow and ice cover the roads, the risk of emergencies increases. To stay safe and prepare for winter emergencies, gather these 10 things in your vehicle for a winter emergency kit:
- Windshield scraper – On cold winter mornings, you’ve probably had to pry a thick layer of ice from your windshield. Keep a scraper (or one of these hacks!) in your car this season so you won’t be stuck waiting for the defroster to melt through the ice.
- Tire chains – If you’re often driving on icy and snowy roads, tire chains help provide traction for safe driving. Choose the right type for your vehicle, and learn how to put them on your tires BEFORE you need them in an emergency.
- Blanket and winter hat – Keep these things (add scarves, gloves, sweaters, etc.) in your vehicle to stay warm. You may not want to keep your vehicle running if you’ll be stuck for a long time, or dead batteries and an empty gas tank can prevent you from running the heater.
- Small shovel – This can be vital when you find yourself stuck in a snow bank. You can even purchase a smaller, folding shovel for easier storing in your vehicle.
- Cat litter – If you’re stuck on snow or ice, sprinkling some cat litter over the road can help provide traction to get your car moving again.
- Cardboard box – Like cat litter, a cardboard box can provide a boost of traction to get you moving on a slick road. Simply place the cardboard under a tire, get out of the way, drive over it, and you’re on your way.
- Gloves and hand warmers – Gloves can make a huge difference while your performing emergency repairs in the cold (like changing a flat tire or jump-starting your vehicle). They keep you warm, and prevent grease and oil from getting on your hands. You can also keep a few chemical hand warmer packs in your kit for extra heat.
- Hazard lights or reflectors – In these cold months, the dark hours outlast the light. Visibility is critical for keeping you safe in an emergency. Pick up a few inexpensive reflective hazard triangles to put on the road to warn other drivers of your presence. It’s also a good idea to keep a flashlight to help you see, perform tasks, and stay safe at night.
- Water and Nonperishable food – Being stuck in the cold is bad enough, don’t add hunger and thirst to the mix. A supply of snacks and water will keep you hydrated and satisfied until help arrives. The calories can also help keep you warm!
- Tow strap – If you find yourself so stuck that shovels, cardboard, and cat litter can’t help, you may need a tow. Keep a tow strap in your kit so a kind driver can help you get back on the road.
Gather these things and keep them in your vehicle this season so you can stay safe on the roads in Omaha all winter long. Keep the phone number for roadside assistance and our shop in your glove box – 402-896-5800 – give us a call anytime, we are here for you! Stay warm and safe this winter!
As National Fall Car Care Month, this month is the perfect time to ask, “Is my car ready for autumn and winter?” Here are eight things you should check to make sure your car can handle the coming weather and road conditions:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 to make sure your car is ready for this fall!