‘Tis the season for parties, shopping and road trips. After a long summer followed by unseasonably warm temps, many of our cars need a little extra attention. Whether your holiday plans include driving across the Valley or heading to the high country, your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) share ways to prepare and stay safe:
Check your lights
- Be sure other drivers can see your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals.
Check your wipers
- As we enter our wetter winter season, you want to make sure they’re in good shape so you can clearly see the heavier traffic. And, don’t forget the solvent.
Check your battery
- The average lifespan of a car battery in Arizona is less than three years. Just because it survived the summer doesn’t mean it’ll last through your holiday road trips.
Check your tires
- As the temps drop, your tire pressure light is more likely to come on. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, tire pressure drops about 1 psi.
- Research by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that tires age faster in warmer climates. Cracks, bulging and worn tread can lead to big problems.
- NARPRO auto repair shops can help you determine how old your tires are, and help you make sure you are purchasing the “freshest” tires available.
Check your filters
- After a summer packed with storms, your filters could be pretty full of gunk. Besides affecting airflow and air quality in your car, dirty filters can also hurt fuel efficiency and overall performance.
If you’re heading to the high country:
Test your cold weather gear
- Are your chains in good shape? How’s the air in your spare? Got fresh batteries in the flashlight?
- If you have four-wheel drive that wasn’t used during the summer, make sure the system engages and disengages easily and that all the drivers in your house know how and when to activate the system.
Get the right antifreeze mix
- To prevent freezing, aim for a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water in your radiator.
- An inexpensive antifreeze tester at an auto parts store will help you determine if the mixture is correct and your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) can test your coolant level of protection, pH balance and electrolysis. They can also properly dispose of antifreeze, which cannot be poured down a drain.
Keep your eye on gas tank
- Be sure to keep the gas tank as full as possible to prevent the gas lines from freezing.
Be smart about stopping
- If you have car trouble, avoid stopping in or near travel lanes.
- Aim for an area where the vehicle can be safely removed.
- If your car can’t be moved, raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights.
An emergency kit for your trunk should include:
- Blanket, boots, gloves and extra clothing
- Mobile phone, charging cable and back-up power pack.
- Extra water and food, including hard candies
- Ice scraper and small shovel
- Flashlight with fresh batteries
- Windshield wipers and washer fluid
- Flares and/or reflectors
- Jumper cables
- Tire chains
- Tire gauge, spare tire and tire-changing equipment
- First aid kit
- A bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.
NARPRO (Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals): The Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) helps car owners find skilled and honest car repair shops. NARPRO only recommends independent, family-owned, full-service auto repair shops that have passed 26 rigorous tests. Visit www.NARPRO.com to find recommended shops near work or home. NARPRO is the easiest way to find an honest mechanic in the Valley.