8 Ways to Protect Your Car During Winter

winter road conditions

A harsh winter can take a heavy toll on your car. From frozen mechanics to corrosion from road salt, the potential for expensive damage is high. And what’s worse, a poorly protected car becomes much more dangerous to drive, putting the safety of you and your passengers at risk.

Luckily, a little preparation can keep the impact of the colder months to a minimum. Here’s what to do.

1) Winter Tires

Your region may require you to fit snow tires over winter, or it may be a condition of your insurance. But even if you have no legal need for snow tires, it’s important to make sure your tires are fit for the season’s conditions.

Check that the tread depth is a little deeper than the law says and that the tires stay inflated to the correct pressure. In icy conditions, the last thing you want is unreliable handling because of badly performing tires.

2) Check Windshield Wiper Blades

It’s a lot harder for windshield wipers to handle frozen, gritty particles than it is rain or fine summer dust. If the blades are cracked or worn, the dirty ice will quickly build-up, reducing visibility and even damaging the glass. Before winter arrives, check your wiper blades for damage or wear and tear and replace them if necessary.

3) Cover Your Car

If you can keep your car in a garage every night, then that’s ideal. But whatever your usual storage conditions, it’s a sensible idea to buy a car cover to take with you wherever you drive. Covering your car when snow is forecast not only protects the bodywork but makes getting your vehicle ready to drive much quicker and easier.

4) Wash Frequently

You may think washing your car in snowy weather is a waste of time, but it’s important to do it frequently throughout winter. The road salt that sprays up as you drive can cause corrosion surprisingly quickly, so it needs washing off as often as possible. And don’t forget to power spray the harder-to-reach places such as inside the wheel arches and underneath the car itself.

5) Wax Your Car

As well as washing, you can give your car’s bodywork an extra level of protection by waxing it before winter arrives, and at least once before spring.

6) Change the Oil

It makes good sense to time your oil changes for just before winter so that your engine is fully protected during the hardest months. And when you replace the oil, choose a thinner formulation than you’d normally use. In severely cold conditions, regular oil thickens and become less effective at protecting your engine.

7) Check Fluids

Make sure your coolant fluids are topped up and have enough antifreeze added to them. If you’re caught in traffic because of severe weather, you need to be sure the engine won’t overheat. You also need to guard against the radiator bursting if your car is sitting idle in the cold for too long.

8) Test the Battery

Lastly, test how efficient your battery is as winter approaches. Its storage capacity decreases in the cold, and a battery that’s nearing the end of its life can fail unexpectedly if conditions take a sudden turn for the worse.

As winter approaches, a little preparation can go a long way in protecting your car. If some extra care and attention prevent expensive damage while also keeping you safe, it’ll be time and money well spent.

Car Shipping for Reassigned Military Members

military members assigned

Members of all branches of the military are required to relocate from one base to another on a regular basis. Often, these moves can be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Of course, a big move such as this comes with a number of logistical challenges – particularly since these moves often occur with little advance notice. In particular, it can be tough to know how to get your vehicle to your new home.

Driving it is always an option, but this can sometimes take multiple days and means that you will not be able to bring as many of your personal items and furniture as you would if you drove a moving truck. As a result, many military members are turning to professional auto shipping companies to transport their vehicles. A good military car shipping company will have the experience to get your car where it needs to go, and they will ensure that the vehicle makes it there as quickly and safely as possible.

How does military auto shipping work?

Military auto shipping is the safer and easier way to get your vehicle from one city to another. In the vast majority of cases, the process will be as simple as you driving your car to the designated pick up location and then collecting it on the other side. However, if for any reason you are not able to drive your car to the pick up spot, most auto shipping companies will be able to pick your car up right from your driveway to make the process as seamless as possible for you.

Will your vehicle be safe during the shipping process?

Shipping your vehicle with a military auto shipper is probably the safest way of getting your vehicle from one place to another. When driving the vehicle yourself, you run the risk of another driver rear-ending you, driving over a nail in the road, or any number of other issues. When your vehicle is transported with a military car shipper, it will be placed securely on the back of a truck, away from any potential dangers. However, in the unlikely event that something does happen to your vehicle in transit, the vast majority of auto shippers will have a detailed insurance policy that will cover any damages.

How do you receive your car at its destination?

In order to make the process as simple as possible, most shippers endeavor to make receiving your vehicle as easy as dropping it off. The most popular way to receive the car is to go to the designated shipping station, quickly inspect the vehicle for any damage, sign off on the package, and drive home. The whole process generally takes less than 30 minutes. However, if you are pushed for time or can’t make it to the shipping station, most military car shippers will be able to deliver the vehicle right to your driveway.

For military service members who want to make the moving process as easy and straightforward as possible, it is very tough to beat the convenience of using a military car shipper. If you have a big move coming up soon, be sure to get a quote from an auto shipper before you go – you might just be surprised at how well the whole process works.

8 Reasons NOT to Buy that Used Car

Broken Down Car

Buying a used car is always slightly more risky than buying a brand-new model. There’s usually a less comprehensive warranty – if there’s any at all – and you can’t guarantee the maintenance history is as good as it should be.

But there are also bargains to be had if you shop carefully. Watch out for these eight red flags when buying, and you’ll stand much less chance of being lumbered with a lemon.

1) Lots of Owners in the History

If a car’s registration history has an unusual amount of owners, it could be a sign that the car is more trouble than it’s worth. Maybe it’s needed frequent repairs. Maybe it just doesn’t feel good to drive. But whatever the reason, a longer than normal ownership list should give you pause for thought.

2) Suspiciously Low Price

Although getting a great car at an amazing price is the ideal result, a price that’s much lower than you expect should make you suspicious. It’s possible that the owner may need a quick sale in good faith, or they genuinely might not have any idea of the car’s true value. However, it’s much more likely that they just want to be rid of the vehicle at any price.

3) Unusually Low Mileage

If the car’s mileage seems strangely low for its age, especially if the steering wheel and pedals show signs of wear and tear, then be highly cautious. Faking mileage is harder to do than it used to be, but it’s still a favorite tactic of unscrupulous sellers.

4) Strange Knocking Sounds

All cars drive less smoothly as they get older. But if you hear knocking or scraping sounds while driving, it’s unlikely to be a simple sign of graceful aging. And if the noises get worse when you brake, then walk away immediately. Major brake problems are dangerous as well as expensive to repair, and it’s simply not worth taking the risk in a used car.

5) Unexplained Drips Below

Always check the ground under the vehicle for any signs of leaks. A few unexplained drips may be nothing to worry about, but if they’re from the brake system or transmission they’ll be an expensive issue to fix.

6) Puffs of Exhaust Smoke

A small cloud of dark smoke coming from the exhaust when the engine starts is often a sign of an oil or antifreeze leak. These problems might not be deal breakers in themselves, but they’re definitely a warning sign that careful maintenance may not have been a priority for the owner.

7) Brand-New Paintwork

It’s not unusual for an older car have a few scuffs and scratches, even if it’s been carefully looked after. But if the paintwork is sparkling and factory-fresh, ask yourself what might be hiding underneath the shine. And if the paintwork looks newer in some places than others, then be doubly cautious.

8) Uneven Tire Wear

Lastly, it’s normal for car tires to wear down with use. But what shouldn’t be normal is an uneven pattern of wear, with some tires looking much older than others. At best, this means that tire rotation hasn’t been done regularly or correctly, maybe giving a clue about the overall level of maintenance. At worst, it’s a sign that the suspension or balance needs some serious attention. Either way, it’s not a positive point in a used vehicle.

There’s always a risk in buying a used car. But if you’re alert to these warning signs then you’ll be ahead of the game and can buy with greater confidence.

How to Get Your Car Ready for Winter

prepare your car for winter

The winter season can be tough on your vehicle, and the time to prepare is already growing short. If you wait until the snow is falling and the roads are coated with ice, it could already be too late.

Now is the time to get your vehicle winter ready. With just a few simple upgrades, you can enhance your safety and get ready for the road ahead. Here are some timely winter upgrades to get your vehicle ready for the coldest time of the year.

Improve Your Blizzard Vision with New Wiper Blades

Even if you think your windshield wiper blades are fine, it never hurts to give them an upgrade. When the snow begins to fall and you find yourself in the middle of a blizzard, you will need clear vision more than ever.

Changing your wiper blades now is the best way to improve your visibility later, so take a few minutes to get a brand new pair. Look for wiper blades designed for winter driving – they are more rugged and better able to clear away ice and snow.

Stop the Slide with a New Set of Winter Tires

All season tires are fine most of the time, until they aren’t. When the roads are icy and the snow is falling, winter tires will give you extra traction in those difficult conditions.

That difference in winter traction could mean the difference between a close call and an accident, and you should seriously consider this winter upgrade. You can always put your all season tires back on once spring arrives.

Pack a Cold Weather Emergency Kit

You never know when a sudden snow squall will leave you stranded or an ice storm will leave the roads impassable. When you venture out in the winter, you need to be ready for anything, and that is where your emergency kit comes in.

Hopefully you already have a basic emergency kit in your trunk – if not, now is the time to get one. Your winter emergency kit should also contain basic supplies like a warm blanket, extra food and a set of road flares. Think about what you might need in a winter weather emergency, and then pack your kit accordingly.

Test and Top Off Your Antifreeze

When the temperature drops, your antifreeze will become more and more important. Now is the time to make sure this vital fluid is up to the job, so ask your mechanic to put it to the test.

If your antifreeze has lost its potency, a quick flush and fill can set things right, so you will be ready for the worst winter has to offer. If your antifreeze is still in good shape, ask your mechanic to top it off, and then check the level each time you gas up.

Winter driving season is almost here, and now is the time to get ready. Getting your vehicle winter ready now can keep you safe later, so you can face those challenging roads with confidence.

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