Winter Driving: Stay safe driving in the snow

Driving in snow, Winter tires, snow tiresWinter is just around the corner, which means that adverse weather conditions like snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are going to make the roads that much more dangerous and pose significant risks for both experienced and brand-new drivers.

At Fast Tire, we want to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road, so we’ve put together our winter driving guide which includes five key tips for staying safe during those winter drives.

5 Safety Tips for Driving in the Winter

Winter driving doesn’t have to be a challenge. With a little preparation and a few key reminders, you can continue to trek through the roads without worrying about your vehicle or your safety.

Tip 1: Prep Your Vehicle Before Winter

Before you even spot the first snowflake, it’s vital you properly prepare your vehicle for any and all challenges that lie ahead. A good place to start is by checking your tires, making sure they have adequate tread and are properly inflated. Having good traction is extremely important when driving on slippery surfaces. Another good tip is to switch to winter tires for added grip.

We also recommend checking your vehicle’s brakes, lights, and heating system, as well as your windshield wipers – as these will be your best friend against rough snow on your windshield.

Tip 2: Drive Slower and Be Mindful of Following Distances

Driving too fast for the current road conditions is a common cause of accidents any time of the year, but especially during the winter. To protect yourself, your vehicle, and other drivers, reduce your speed and maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you during harsher weather days. As it takes longer to stop on icy or snow-covered roads, it’s always better to allow for extra time to react to unexpected situations.

Tip 3: Watch Out for Black Ice

Black ice is incredibly dangerous as the transparent layer it forms on the road is difficult to see for most drivers. Because black ice is more difficult to spot, it’s harder to correct when the vehicle becomes unsteady. If you suspect black ice, ease off the gas pedal, keep a steady hand on the steering wheel, and avoid any sudden maneuvers and be extra careful on higher risk areas, including bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas.

Tip 4: Clear Any Ice or Snow on Your Car

Before every drive, make sure that your vehicle is completely free of any ice or snow. Doing this takes minutes, but will help tremendously when it comes to ensuring you can see properly on the road. Clear all windows, lights, and side mirrors – the three most important parts of your vehicle when it comes to visibility.

We also recommend removing snow on the roof as well in order to prevent it from slipping down your car and obstructing your vision.

Tip 5: Always Plan Ahead

Finally, the last and most important winter safety tip is planning ahead. Check the weather app on your phone or watch the news before you leave to see if there are any potentially dangerous issues that will affect your drive.

It’s always best to keep in contact with friends and family if you’re going on long car rides during the winter just in case your car breaks down or you get lost. To add to this tip, it’s always recommended to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, with items that can be useful such as:

  • An Ice scraper
  • A snowbrush
  • A shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • A flashlight
  • and blankets

Set Your Car Up for Success this Winter at Fast Tire

At Fast Tire, we understand the challenge that come from winter driving and are here to help you reduce these with expert, reliable vehicle maintenance services, such as tires & tire repair, oil changes, brakes, and more!

View our services today or request an appointment to get your car winter ready!

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Spring Cleaning & Maintenance

spring car maintenance

Wash winter’s grit & road salt away and enjoy the Spring weather in your clean ride!

Spring cleaning checklist:

Undercarriage flush – With the onset of spring, all car owners should have their car’s undercarriage flushed.

De-grunge – To remove grunge you need to wash your car with a strong detergent; most car wash solutions do not have the strength to cut through the dirt. Try a solution of 1 ounce of dish-washing detergent to 3 gallons of cool water to wash your car.

Clean and Seal – If your car’s paint feels rough, you need a cleaner. If your paint has scuffs and scratches, you need a heavier polish.

Treat – If your car has a leather or vinyl interior, it needs to be treated before the onset of summer’s heat.

Dashboard Shine the dashboard with a clean fabric softener sheet. The anti-static elements will help repel dust from the dashboard.

Chrome & Windows – To clean chrome & glass, sprinkle Baking Soda on a damp rag, scrub, & rinse clean.

Hubcaps – To clean dirt & grime from hubcaps, spray with Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner. Let sit for 15 seconds and rinse clean.

 

Spring Cleaning & Maintenance

spring car maintenance

Wash winter’s grit & road salt away and enjoy the Spring weather in your clean ride!

Spring cleaning checklist:

Undercarriage flush – With the onset of spring, all car owners should have their car’s undercarriage flushed.

De-grunge – To remove grunge you need to wash your car with a strong detergent; most car wash solutions do not have the strength to cut through the dirt. Try a solution of 1 ounce of dish-washing detergent to 3 gallons of cool water to wash your car.

Clean and Seal – If your car’s paint feels rough, you need a cleaner. If your paint has scuffs and scratches, you need a heavier polish.

Treat – If your car has a leather or vinyl interior, it needs to be treated before the onset of summer’s heat.

Dashboard Shine the dashboard with a clean fabric softener sheet. The anti-static elements will help repel dust from the dashboard.

Chrome & Windows – To clean chrome & glass, sprinkle Baking Soda on a damp rag, scrub, & rinse clean.

Hubcaps – To clean dirt & grime from hubcaps, spray with Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner. Let sit for 15 seconds and rinse clean.

 

Help local Minneapolis Franchisee Car-X team return to the East Lake community!

The Bernstein family have enjoyed doing business as a Car-X Franchise in the Lake Street neighborhood since 1980. The first 20 years on West Lake Street and the second 20 years on East Lake Street.

Their team of Pat, John and Billy have been with the Bernstein’s company for a combined total of almost 50 years. The Covid-19 impact and reduction of work has been painful for many including Pat and his team.

The riots, destruction and looting of the East Lake Street store and neighborhood is like salt in an open wound. Please help them REBUILD. They want to get back to servicing their community as soon as possible. These funds will help their technicians get back to work by helping them replace tools and personal items, and keep them working while they clean and rebuild their shop. Thank you for your consideration. Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd!

Thank you from Car-X Tire & Auto on behalf of the Bernstein Family and the East Lake Street Car-X Team

Providing Essential Services During the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 has caused a global health crisis. In these uncertain times we must keep in mind that we all have a job to do. For some that job is to stay home or self-isolate and for others that job is to provide an essential service. The Department of Homeland Security has deemed Car-X to be a part of the essential services. We are here to ensure that you have a safe means of transportation. While providing that service, our priority is to make sure that you and our employees stay safe during your visit. Safety protocols have been put in place at all of our locations to do so. We are taking this matter very seriously and ask you to do the same.

It is important for us all to educate ourselves and stay updated on COVID-19. Make sure you are properly washing your hands, sanitizing your store-bought goods, and following other safety protocols. Being overly vigilant is the tactic to take if we want to stop the spread of this virus.

If you find yourself in need of automotive maintenance/repair please call or find us online at https://www.carx.com/request-an-appointment/. We are here to help. Stay safe, stay healthy!

For more information on COVID-19 please go to http://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Should your College Student Take their Car to School?

taking car to collegeBack to school can be a time of big decisions for parents and students. One of the most difficult is whether or not to take a car away to college. Consider the following when making this decision:

Responsible use – Has your child done his or her part in taking care of their vehicle so far? Have they driven safely and not had a problem with speeding tickets or accidents? Keep in mind the atmosphere of college inevitably means less supervision and more opportunities for poor decisions, so trust is a major factor.

School policy – Colleges have varying policies on cars for students. Many universities don’t allow first-year students to bring cars to campus. If your student’s school does allow vehicles, the next thing to look into is parking. Will there be a nearby lot or deck they can park in, or will they have to park further away? If the parking area safe?

• Convenience to family – Does it make sense to the rest of the family that your student’s car be gone for semesters at a time? There could be younger siblings near or of driving age that may need the car.

Jobs or internships – If your student has a part-time job or internship this fall, especially off-campus, then it is important they have a reliable means of transportation.

Cost – Does your child have a way to pay for gas, parking permits, etc., or will you be covering that? Come up with a plan, such as you paying a certain percentage if your student maintains a certain GPA.

Rules – Should you make the decision your student will take their car, establish some ground rules. Classmates will surely ask to borrow or drive the car at some point.

Alternatives – Should you decide your student won’t take their car, there are several alternatives to having a car on campus to consider.

How to Maximize Fuel Economy

Improving fuel economy is a matter of changing your driving habits. The benefits range from environmental to personal and financial. Here are some easy and effective tips on maximizing your fuel economy.

  • Drive Conservatively – Rapid acceleration and hard braking can reduce your fuel economy by 15-30% at highway speeds (10-40% in stop and go traffic).
  • Use Cruise Control – Cruise control reduces the fluctuations in speed keeping your car at a consistent pace helping to saving gas.
  • Avoid unnecessary Idling – Between 1 quarter to ½ gallon of fuel per hour is used when idling. Turn off your engine until you’re ready to get on your way, restarting your engine only uses 10 seconds worth of fuel. Only shut off your engine when it is safe to do so.  
  • Practice Proper car Maintenance:
    • Remove any extra items from your car – More weight = more fuel your car needs to use
    • Change your oil regularly
    • Check your tire pressure
    • Check your engine air filter and replace if needed
    • Choose to roll down your windows instead of using AC
    • Regularly track your fuel economy

Everything you Need to Know About Vehicle Recalls

Vehicle recalls occur more frequently than most of us are aware of. This results when a manufacturer determines that a car model has a safety related defect that does not comply with the government’s safety standard. The manufacturer is then required to alert owners of this problem and may offer to repair the issue at no cost to you.

These alerts are usually delivered by mail or email, but they can often be overlooked. If you have a feeling that your car may be involved in a recall but haven’t received an alert, you can go online and check for yourself.

All you need is your VIN number which can be found in a few different places: the driver’s side lower corner of the windshield, vehicle registration, insurance card, or on a placard on the driver’s door jamb. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall page (www.nhtsa.gov/recalls) and enter you VIN. If your car has been issued a recall it will pop up on the page and if nothing populates then your car has not been recalled.

If your car has been issued a recall you should call your local dealer and schedule an appointment to fix the recalled issue. If you didn’t buy your car from that specific dealer, they will help you with the recall if it’s the same manufacturer.

Winterize your vehicle

If the weather turns frightful is your vehicle ready for winter driving? Stay safe & keep your vehicle in good working order this winter with the following tips:

Battery Test Check Mark Battery test-If the battery is not checked, there is a chance the particularly cold nights will be too much, making the battery unable to power on the next day.

Antifreeze Check Mark Antifreeze-Another serious issue that often comes up in the winter is lack of enough coolant, which can cause the engine to freeze and possibly crack, causing detrimental harm.

Charging Systems Check Mark Charging system check-Your charging system needs to be tested to ensure it can handle running multiple items such as your defrosters, headlights, and heater at once.

Belt and Hoses Check Mark Belt & hose inspection-Cracked or worn belts are a big reason why cars break down. Similarly, hoses need to be inspected for leaks, bulging, etc. These should be checked annually before the winter months, so there is no chance of getting stranded out in the cold unnecessarily.

Brake Check Mark Brake check-Having brakes in good condition is imperative for slippery winter roads. Having your brakes and ABS system checked each year ensures you will be able to come to a stop easily should you happen to slide.

Oil Change Check Mark Oil change-Important year-round, having your oil changed for the winter months is a step you should not forget. Be sure to refer to your car’s owner manual, as some car manufacturers suggest using a different grade of oil for colder temperatures.

Wiper Blade Check Mark New wiper blades-It is necessary to have windshield wiper blades in good condition for when you get caught driving in the snow. There are even a variety of specialty wiper blades made specifically for snowy weather.

Tire Check Mark Tire maintenance-It is of utmost importance to make sure your tire pressure is at a good level. Tires should be inspected, as well as rotated if you have not done so recently.

Other helpful tips:

  • Run your air conditioning roughly once per month. This will help decrease the time it takes your windows to defog.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full. The added weight helps in slippery conditions, and it also helps prevent moisture from forming.
  • Do not forget to keep a snow brush/ice scraper in your car.

Car-X provides a wide array of winterization products and services. Find a location near you, and let us take the worry out of winter driving.

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