Watertown— Last winter was considered a “non winter”, as it was one of the most mild winters the North Country has ever seen. Forecasters are calling for a “typical” winter this year and North Country folks know that “typical” means temperatures below zero, Lake Effect Snow "white outs", and well over 100 inches of snowfall.
Safety and vehicle maintenance is very important to prepare for the winter months. ABC50 spoke with owner of a local Ziebart franchise, Ronald Bartle on ways North Country drivers can prepare for the upcoming winter weather.
Bartle has been in the auto mechanic and auto protection business for 36 years and explained why people should rust proof their vehicles:
“Snow doesn’t rust cars, the salt does. Rust protection is very important, especially if the vehicle is used because factory protection has been worn away. After one winter, a used vehicle will rust and get holes in it. The idea is to get the vehicle rust protected before the rust starts.”
North Country drivers should remember to change out summer tires with snow tires. Keeping track of your antifreeze and windshield fluid is also important. With salt trucks covering the roads, it is important to keep a coat of wax on your vehicle to protect it from salt and calcium chloride, both corrosive to vehicles.
According to 21st Century Auto Insurance, a vehicle's battery life will be cut by 50 percent in extreme weathers. Checking your oil is equally important, however severe cold temperatures can cause issues. In their article "Preparing your car for Winter" checking your oil becomes more complicated in cold weather:
“If you live where temperatures get below freezing, you will want to switch over to thinner, less viscous oil. For instance, if you run 10W-40 grade oil in the summer, you may want to move to 5W-30 when changing your oil for the winter. Make sure to refer to your owner’s manual for vehicle-specific information.”
It is vital to avoid getting stuck in snow or getting into a car accident. So, taking the proper measures to ensure the right tires are on your vehicles, checking tire pressure as well as maintaining fluids and checking your battery will go a long way during the winter months. Protecting your vehicle from rusting can also be prevented by getting the proper rust protection so that your vehicle will last a long time.
Jefferson County has 112 inches of snow annually, the snow often piles up and even vehicles with 4 wheel drive get stuck in snow. One can never be too cautious, it is always best to have a survival kit that for emergencies. The kit should contain things such as a standard first aid kit, a blanket, jumper cables, flash light, snow/ice scraper, and a shovel that fits in your trunk in case you have to shovel your vehicle out of snow.
If your car insurance doesn't have emergency road side service coverage, you might want to consider adding it. There are also other companies such as AAA, but most car insurance should have emergency road side coverage in case you need to call for help. Weather conditions can be very unpredictable, super storm Sandy is an example. It is imperative to take the winter seriously and take every precaution to ensure your safety.