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Keeping your car safe this winter

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Ah, the holiday season—perfect for family, food, and most of all, dangerous roads. While driving in the winter, it’s not very fun to be sliding all over the road, not being able to see, or even having your car breakdown. Winter in Illinois means harsh conditions on the road such as ice, snow, salt and many more hazards. Making sure your car is prepared will help you stay safe and comfortable driving.

Tip No. 1: DON’T FORGET TO CHECK YOUR TIRES.

Make sure your car’s tires are set to the proper PSI (pressure per square inch). The proper air pressure will be found in the door jam.

The tire and loading information sticker will show pressures for the front, rear, amd spare. Set to correct pressure to ensure correct tire ware
The tire and loading information sticker will show pressures for the front, rear, and spare. Set to correct pressure to ensure correct tire ware.

Check the tire for proper tread depth—to do that, or to see if its too low, take a penny and put Abe Lincoln’s head between the tread. You should not be able to see the top of his head. 

A tire with plenty of air left.
A tire with plenty of air left.
A bald tire that needs to be replaced.
A bald tire that needs to be replaced.

Tip No. 2: THINGS TO KEEP IN YOUR CAR.

The most important item to keep in your car is an extra pair of warm clothes in case of an emergency. Keep bottled water and dry food, too – sometimes, you really don’t know what hazards you will come across on the road. An ice scraper is very effective in the morning and after a snowfall. Make sure to always keep at least a quarter tank of fuel in case you get stranded.

Tip No. 3: ENGINE MAINTENANCE.

Keep up to date with oil changes and watch oil levels, coolant levels, and windshield washer fluid levels.

Proper oil height on a dipstick
Proper oil height on a dipstick
Washer fluid is important to clean your windshield
Washer fluid is important to clean your windshield

Extra helpful tips:

Use kitty litter to gain more traction under a spinning tire. Have a towing company contact ready for emergencies. Know where the nearest quick lube shop or dealership is in case you need extra air, oil, coolant, or washer fulid.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to go to Mr. Don Vath or Mr. William Loftus in the Oswego High School auto shop. And above all, remember to always buckle up and drive with caution.

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