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And with winter right around the corner, the changes that are manifested make for slick roads, which can increase the chances of getting into an accident requiring auto insurance coverage.
With this in mind, Car Care Canada – the organization that coronated October as Care Safety Month – provided motorists with some helpful hints and recommendations to maintain their own and their loved ones’ well-being when on the road.
CCC indicated that the most important component of staying safe is being proactive, which is basically looking ahead to see what potential problems may occur when conditions on the road are treacherous. The best place to start is making sure the mechanical framework of a vehicle is just as it should be – which is to say that the engine is supplied with the resources it needs to run well.
For example, engines can easily overheat if there isn’t enough coolant in the system. Thus, take a look at the antifreeze reservoir to see if it needs filling. If it hasn’t been looked at in a while, it may be best to have the existing coolant flushed out, and replaced with a fresh batch. CCC pointed out that antifreeze should be flushed and refilled once every 24 months.
What’s also important to check is the oil, the lifeblood of a car’s engine. Without oil that lubricates all of its working parts, the engine can seize up, rendering the vehicle effectively useless. CCC recommended paying attention to indicator lights on the dashboard of the car to see if it says “Check Oil.” Don’t ignore this indicator, as there’s almost always as a legitimate reason as to why it’s been tripped. Additionally, ensure that the car’s engine oil is changed and replaced every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
Examine the battery
While under the hood, it’s a good idea to also have a look at the car’s battery. The battery should be located in the rear, and may be covered by a removable top. Take off the covering and look at the two terminals. If there is a white powdery substance around them, clean them off with a scraping tool. This white material can reduce the charging capacity of the battery.
Additionally, try to remember the last time the battery was replaced. As a general rule, batteries have a shelf life of between three and five years. To avoid being in a situation where the battery’s power runs out, it may be wise to install a new one after four years.
Tire treads should be deep
Another key component of safety is the tires. CCC noted that not only should the pressure be at the appropriate PSI level – which can typically be determined on the wall of the tire, where it should say the amount of air that’s required – but it should also have plenty of tread depth. This can be determined by using a penny and inserting it between the grooves of a tire. If the top of Queen Elizabeth’s head can be seen, there isn’t enough tread on the tire.
There are many tire brands to choose from, and with bitterly cold temperatures approaching, winter tires are ideal, as they have extra traction and are built to withstand slick conditions. Automotive experts say that unidirectional tires are particularly adept at handling inclement weather, having increasing grip of the road.
It’s important, though, to install these tires so that they rotate in the appropriate manner. John Mahler, an automotive expert and contributor to Wheels.ca, noted that some people will try to lengthen the life of their tires by reversing them so that they move in the opposite direction, the theory being that it will allow the tires to wear more evenly. This is inadvisable, though, as unidirectional tires are supposed to rotate only one way – hence the name.
“A unidirectional tire has been designed to optimize its wet grip going in one direction,” said Mahler. ” If you reverse the rotation, wet grip will suffer, braking distances will increase and you will lose cornering grip.”
He added that in order to even the wear of the tires so that they drive smoother, it’s a good idea to rotate the tires so that the two wheels on the right side go to the left side and vice versa.
Other important safety issues to check for include replacing the wiper blades if they haven’t been changed in more than six months, having an emergency kit in the car with extra clothes and a blanket and keeping the gas tank at least half full at all times.
Tips For Car Safety Month This October
As the sun sets on September and October arrives, its Car Safety Month in Canada – a time of year where motorists prepare for what Mother Nature has in store for them, as the days grow shorter and weather conditions gradually change.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.