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Front Page » October 14, 2008 » Carbon County News » Carbon residents prepare vehicles for winter temperatures...
Published 2,137 days ago

Carbon residents prepare vehicles for winter temperatures, conditions


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate community editor

As the winter cold begins to set in on Carbon County, residents are reminded that taking a few minutes to conduct some simple preventative maintenance on their vehicle can save a bundle over the course of what is predicted to be a long and bitterly cold season.

Various winter conditions can cause damage to a vehicle's engine, tires, wheels, transmission and paint. But with the help of local merchants and tips from several online sources local drivers can avoid many of winter's pitfalls.

Checking a vehicles tire pressure at least twice a week and before any road trip is widely recommended. Traction can be limited because of several winter factors including snow, ice and windy conditions. Therefore, getting the maximum available tread from a vehicle is of paramount importance. Not only will properly inflated tires provide the best possible traction but it will insure that the tires receive the least amount of damage possible when unavoidable potholes and other negative road conditions get in the way.

It is important to note, that air pressure will drop under cold conditions and according to www.edmunds.com, vehicle owners should use this general rule - for every 10-degree drop in temperature a tire's inflation will drop by one pound per square inch.

Additionally, residents might consider purchasing tires winter tires as they will assist with braking, accelerating and handling.

winter conditions are still winter conditions.

"They aren't magic tires," said Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor at Edmunds. "Even with winter tires your care will still be worse on slick roads than dry ones. But winter tire do help improve traction on slick surfaces more than all-season tires."

The site goes on to list checking all four wheel drive components, maintaining the engine and adjusting for viscosity grade based on the severity of cold weather conditions, inspecting all belts and hoses, inspecting the windshield wipers and washer fluid, checking the battery, the antifreeze and most importantly carrying an emergency kit as considerations for winter driving.

The edmunds.com article by Romans recommends carrying:

•A flashlight, flares and a first aid kit.

•Jumper cables, a tool kit and tire chains.

•A blanket, warm clothes and gloves.

•An adhesive material to add traction for a tire that is severely stuck.

•A snow brush, ice scraper and snow shovel.

•Extra washer fluid.

•Extra food and water.

In Utah, where driving conditions can change in the blink of an eye, the Utah Department of Transportation is making the following recommendations to make the commuting experience more safe.

•Watch out for snow plows, use caution when operating around snowplows and use extreme caution when passing a snowplow.

Watch out for plows that are equipped with a "wing" plow that can extend several feet off of either side of the plow.

And as they are prone to stop and back up, make sure to give them plenty of room.

•Never pass through snowplow clouds. This cloud is created when snowplows are throwing snow. Additionally, never pass a snow plow on the right side of the road.

Keep at least 200 feet away from a moving plow and also give enough space to prevent the plow's salt from sticking to the automobile.

•Wildlife and livestock are also a major concern as Utah has an open range.

"Slow down and use extreme caution when passing livestock or wildlife," said the UDOT site at www.sr.ex.state.ut.us. "Always be alert for wildlife in the highways outside Utah cities and towns. Deer, elk, moose, pronghorn or wild horses may be on the road at any time, especially in canyons or mountainous areas."

UDOT also cautioned drivers to keep a constant, watchful eye on changing winter conditions as storms pass through.

UDOT also provides information regarding key routes via sophisticated sensors using roadside weather stations.

"This network provides valuable information to highway maintenance personnel, making the battle against ice and snow more efficient, effective and less costly," explained their website. "Localized storm forecasts help crews prepare for storms before they arrive."

With all this state-of-the-art technology at work for Utah drivers, some simple preparations and driving techniques can make the difference even in the most fierce of weather conditions.

Editors note: Today's story is the first of a three part series detailing some steps Carbon County residents can take to tone down the impact of winter on their wallets, vehicles and homes.

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