Five Easy Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter

 

Being prepared is a lot of fun….ok, so it’s not really fun, but it’s better than being caught unprepared. Here’s some simple ways you can prepare your car for this upcoming winter.

 

check your antifreeze (you know, the green stuff in the radiator). Long story short, it plays a vital role in keeping the water in the radiator and engine from freezing. Why is there water in there? Well that’s a different article, but simply put, it lubricates parts it comes in contact with. So, as I’m sure you’ve already concluded, this is a good thing to keep an eye on heading into winter. Also, if you didn’t flush it earlier in the year, this may be a good time to do so.

 

Check your tires. Do you have a penny? Good. Now take that penny outside and make sure there’s enough tread to keep you on the road. All Wheel Drive means exactly that – you need all wheels to drive. So make sure all four will be able to brave winter’s wrath.

 

Get new windshield wipers. Fewer things more are annoying than having a huge spot right in your line of vision that your wipers keep missing…..and while we’re on the subject

 

Refill your windshield wiper fluid.  If you’re like most people, you’ve figured out the easiest way to travel in a snow storm is to ride directly behind the giant snow plow. The only drawback to this plan of action is all the gunk that will accumulate on your windshield, and not being able to see out of your windshield is never a good thing. Speaking of things getting dirty…..

 

Clean off the battery, and don’t just give it a quick wipe. Really get in there and clean it out, almost as if a visit from your in-laws included a tour under your car hood. Granted, your in-laws probably have no real interest in looking under your car hood, but it is important to keep that area clear of any dirt in order to ensure your vehicle is free from any electrical problems that may occur due to gunk goblins accumulating around your battery.

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What is the Volt?

Technically:

Volt is a full performance and full speed electric vehicle with extended range.

 Translation:

In its simplest form, the Volt operates two ways – battery powered and gasoline powered.

How Volt works?

Technically:

Energy is stored on board in a 16-kWh, “T”-shaped lithium-ion battery. The battery powers the electric drive unit, which is capable of meeting full vehicle speed and acceleration performance while driving the car electrically for an initial range without using a drop of gas.

 Translation:

So, basically, when you run out of electricity (or if you don’t have a chance to plug it in to charge the Volt) you can switch to gasoline.

How often do I have to plug it in?

 Technically:

While Volt has been designed to be the most efficient when it’s plugged in daily, it will run efficiently without being plugged in for days, weeks or even months.

 Translation:

With the Volt, you don’t have to plug it in every day if it doesn’t accommodate your schedule.

Is the Volt an electric car or a hybrid?

 Technically:

Volt is an innovative, never-been-done-before car that exists alone, in a brand-new category of cars. Volt is a full performance electric vehicle with extended range.

 Translation:

The Volt is an electric car with the option of running on gasoline, the difference between the Volt and hybrids (like the Toyota Prius) is that hybrids generally use battery power while stopped or at low speeds, and also cannot typically operate at high speeds while being powered by electricity alone. The Volt is designed to travel longer distances and at all speeds (up to 100 mph) by electricity alone. Again, once the battery power is exhausted, the Volt uses the gas-powered, range extending, generator to drive hundreds more miles.

Will old gas sitting in the tank damage my vehicle? I don’t drive too far and I plan on using very little gasoline?

Technically:

Part of the allure of Volt is the ability to drive gas and tailpipe emissions free. However, that means the gasoline in the tank might sit there for an extended period of time. There are two modes that help make this process worry free. Automatic Engine Maintenance: The Volt will alert you, as required, about every 6 weeks to run the engine to keep it properly maintained and lubricated. Note: This only occurs if the engine has not been sed for the last 6 weeks. Automatic Fuel Maintenance: The Volt will alert you that the engine will run to use up some of the older gasoline in the tank (over one year old). If the fuel in the tank is over 365 days old, the Volt will also alert you to add some fresh gas (gas will stay good in Volt’s pressurized tank for approximately 365 days).

 Translation:

The Volt has backup systems, so you’re covered. Besides, if you’ve got that problem, it means that you’ve managed to stay gas and tailpipe emissions free for one heck of a long time. Good job!

10 Items to Keep in the Car During Winter

Winter is almost here! It all starts with dropping temperatures, frosted windshields, and the occasional dusting of flurries. Then, before you can finish your second eggnog, a blizzard hits and there’s six feet of snow on the ground. That’s why we’ve compiled a check list of ten things to make sure you pack in your car before heading out of the driveway this winter.

  1. Jumper Cables/Batter Charger: This may sound like an easy thing to remember, but if you’re fortunate enough to have a dead battery near civilization, you’ll be amazed how many people don’t have a set of cables in their car. Battery Chargers can be expensive, but they’ll be well worth it the day you have a dead battery and there’s no one around that can give you a jump.
  2. AAA Card: Again, this sounds easy, but it doesn’t hurt to double check your wallet, purse, or glove box to make sure you have all the proper info needed to make that call if you need assistance…and speaking of calls…
  3. A Cell Phone Charger: AAA doesn’t know you need roadside assistance if you don’t call them, and it’s difficult to call anyone when your cell phone battery is dead. Always keep a car charger for your cell phone in the glove box to insure you’ll be able to contact AAA, or anyone for that matter, if you need assistance.
  4. Business Cards of Auto Shops/Dealerships/Towing Companies: If you don’t have AAA or OnStar, then it would be wise to start collecting all those business cards auto shops and dealerships are handing out. Just throw them in your glove box along with your cell phone charger and you’ll be seven digits away from expert assistance…and since we keep bringing up glove boxes…
  5. An Extra Pair of Gloves: How many times have you left the house and forgotten you gloves? Don’t keep just any pair of gloves in there, make sure they’re ones that will keep your hands thoroughly warm should you need to wait several hours for assistance, or need to do any work on the car while the temperature dips below 30 degrees.
  6. An Ice Scraper: It’s simple, cheap, and it gets the job done. It’s another one of those items most people take for granted they have, until they remember taking it out of the car in April because they needed the extra trunk space. So it’s always good to double check and make sure it’s there.
  7. Roadside Assistance Kit: This is another one of those items that is often removed from the car to make extra room in the trunk and then never makes it back into the car. While checking for the ice scraper, make sure this made it back as well.
  8. A Blanket: Sounds odd, but if your car isn’t working guess what else isn’t working – the heat. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just something to help you stay warm in the car while you wait for assistance.
  9. A Basic Tool Set:  Nothing fancy, just the basics – screw driver, wrenches, some nuts and bolts just in case you run into a minor problem with your car that you can fix yourself. (Note: most cars come with a tire jack, but if yours doesn’t, then it definitely fall in this category of things to have)
  10.  An Empty Gas Can:  The reason is obvious, but you don’t want to walk a mile to the nearest gas station without one.

These are a lot of items to stock in your car, and it can seem like a hassle as times, but when the moment comes when you need one of the items above you’ll glad you were prepared.

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