Here at Hassett of Wantagh, we don’t just pride ourselves on our expertise in all things Ford, Lincoln, Subaru, and Trucks, (or the way we use that skill to find you the best car!). We also pride ourselves on being Long Islanders, who know and love the people and community we service, because they’re our own! And as Long Islanders, we know one thing for sure: it’s friggin’ cold out there! According to News 12, this is the second longest period of sub-freezing temperatures in the history of our little island. With winter just getting started, things are gonna be tough out there, so here’s a list of things to remember while driving this winter, brought to you by the experts at Hassett of Wantagh!
1) Check the weather before bringing the car out, especially if you plan on driving long distance or in remote areas. It is recommended to postpone car trips upon reports of inclement weather. If you must go, let the folks at your destination know the route you’re taking and your ETA. Be sure to dress for the weather, not for the trip. This means being prepared to handle the elements outside your vehicle, for any number of reasons. Climate control failure, needing to change a tire, the list goes on.
2) Slow down. It’s been said time and time again, reducing speed is crucial to maintaining your safety on icy roads. Driving at high speeds is a sure-fire way to lose control of your vehicle. Never drive faster than 45mph in any vehicle when roads are icy – expressways and superhighways are no exception! In most cases, you will need to drive much slower than that to stay on the road! In addition, be especially cautious of black ice! 10mph or even less may be enough to slide out of your lane and off the road! If you notice that you are close to other cars, or that your vehicle jerks to the left or right even a little bit – you are definitely driving too fast for the weather conditions.
3) Give your vehicle an oil change. A full service update is recommended for every 30,000 miles your vehicle covers. Since the service includes an oil change, you want to make sure the oil has the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle under the weather conditions. As temperatures drop, oil tends to get thicker. Your car will not thrive with an engine that is not lubricated. Your vehicle’s manual will provide you with insight on which oil works best under winter conditions.
4) Always keep your gas tank at least half full. Gas line freeze-up is a problem for many. Be sure to make frequent fill-ups during inclement conditions.
5) Know your brakes – Overusing your brakes may result in loss of vehicle control on slick roads. Refrain from using antilock brakes (or ABS), as they tend to lock your wheels. Not sure how to turn of ABS? Call us – we’re here to help!
6) Inspect your battery. Of all seasons, winter is the optimal time to inspect your car battery: make sure wires are connected properly, and that it is provided with sufficient fluid. It is recommended to check batteries over three years old to make sure that they can still supply a charge.
Need a battery check? Not sure about your battery? Call Hassett’s Service Department at (516) 785-7800.
7) Increase tire pressure. Inflating your tires to optimal pressure means better traction, and with the current harsh winter conditions, good traction is a must! As temperatures are dropping, your tire pressure may have decreased significantly without you even knowing. You can look to your vehicle’s manual for which pressure works best for which conditions. Also, keep in mind to not over-inflate your tires!
8) If you slide, learn how to correct it! Driving at a high speed will bring your vehicle into a slip you won’t be able to correct easily if you haven’t practiced! If this happens, calmly turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. It may help to imagine the direction you want your car to go, and turn the steering wheel to the imagined direction. It’s a common mistake to oversteer, potentially guiding your car in a full circle. If you happen to overcorrect, you’ll need to guide your car in the opposite direction.
9) Get your belts and hoses checked. Along with the aforementioned full service repair you get with your vehicle, also make sure to get an inspection on your belts and hoses — modern cars are no exception! Inclement conditions may serve as detrimental to these, so we implore you to get them checked!
10) Snow tires are always an option! Especially for those who live in rural, isolated areas. These specialized tires increase traction way more efficiently than all-season tires. Fees and additional costs may affect your purchase, so do some research ahead of time to find which rates and distributors work best for you.
Well…there you have it, our tips to keep you, and your family, to stay safe during this cold winter! For any further questions, call our car experts at (516) 785-7800, log onto www.hassettautomotive.com or visit our show floor, located at 3530 Sunrise Hwy, Wantagh, NY, and come warm up with some of the best deals on Long Island!