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Oct 22 2018

Profile Image of M.K. Tenney

Getting your Car Ready for Winter – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Driving Safety,Seasonal

Driving Safety KitWhen the autumn leaves begin to fall, it’s time to winterize your vehicles. After an inspection by your mechanic to insure your automobile is running properly, replenish all the fluids and then clear the sand and beach balls, golf clubs and baseball gloves from the trunk. Replace them with the items below and you’ll be ready to take to the road this winter.

 

Emergency kit – Auto part stores sell these or you can compile your own. Include a few handy tools like screwdrivers and pliers, jumper cables, road flares, flashlight with fresh batteries, and reflective triangles.

First aid kit – Besides the usual items, this is a good place to store some spare change and a few random snacks just in case of delays. Don’t forget a box of tissues for those nasty winter colds.

Traction – To proceed in an icy situation, you may need some ice melt, rock salt, or kitty litter. If you are prone to encounter extreme snow packed conditions, don’t forget the tire chains.

Ice scraper – These often get broken or lost from one year to the next, so make sure you include one in your car before bad weather hits.

Blanket – In case of breaking down in the cold, a cozy blanket will help keep you warm. Also include a change of clothing, especially socks and gloves for when yours get wet and soggy.  Pack them in a plastic bag to keep them from getting wet from other items in your trunk like sleds or a snow brush.

 

Finally, store relevant emergency numbers in your phone and keep it charged. Keep your tank full and have a safe winter.

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Nov 20 2017

Profile Image of M.K. Tenney

Preparing Your Car for Winter – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Driving Safety,Seasonal

Preparing Your Car for WinterAs the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler, you know it’s time to get your vehicles ready for winter. An inspection by your mechanic will ensure that your fluids are topped off, tires are properly inflated and the battery will hold its charge. Most garages offer inspections at a reasonable rate, sometimes at a discount if you are getting other service like an oil change or tires rotated.

 

Now that you have the assurance of a vehicle in tip top shape whose tires can handle the slick roads, wipers that efficiently clear the windshield, and a heater that keeps the cabin toasty, it is time to add a few items to that winterized car. Gas is first on the list. Keep the tank full to prevent moisture from freezing in the lines and to be prepared for those unexpected delays in traffic. Most of us pump our own fuel these days and it is miserable to fill up on a cold, windy, sloshy day, so do like I do, and take care of that tank on a sunny afternoon.

 

Emergency items to consider carrying include, ice scraper, flashlight, flares, jumper cables, rock salt or kitty litter for traction, a phone charger, extra clothing, a blanket, spare change and a snack or two. If you have kids don’t forget to add a few toys to keep them occupied when they get bored with what they brought. Do yourself a favor and pack your gear in waterproof tubs with lids. Not only will it keep your stuff dry, it makes it easier to move it around the trunk or hatchback when loading groceries, etc. Also, you can easily remove it at the end of the season and store it for next year.

 

Of course, we can never be prepared for every unexpected situation, but it doesn’t hurt to try.  Stay warm and stay safe.

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May 27 2015

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Staying Awake at the Wheel: 3 Steps – The Garage Plan Shop

Asleep at the WheelWith the start of summer come plans for family road trips and vacations. If you’ll be taking a road trip or driving for an extended period of time for some other reason, it is necessary that you know how to identify drowsy driving and what to do about it so you don’t endanger yourself, your passengers or other motorists while you’re on the road. Below are three steps to staying awake at the wheel as identified in a study about drowsy driving for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:

 

STEP 1 – Pay attention for signs of drowsy driving. Yawning frequently, drifting from your lane, hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road, blinking rapidly, not remembering the last few miles and missing your exit are all signs of drowsy driving.

 

STEP 2 – If you notice that you’re doing any of the behaviors mentioned above, it is time to pull over. Rolling the window down or cranking up the music seem like they ought to keep you alert, but the truth is, they do not. Instead of trying to power thru your trip, get off the road and take a break.

 

STEP 3 – Recharge. Park your car in a safe place, lock your doors and set the alarm on your cell phone. Take a nap and get some rest. When the alarm goes off, take a quick walk around the parking lot or through the nearest store. Then buy a cup of coffee or a snack. This will reenergize you for the next leg of your driving marathon.

 

For more safety tips like these, check out our Driving Safety blogs.

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Dec 16 2014

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Driving Tips for Holiday Travelers – The Garage Plan Shop

Checking Tire PressureWith the holidays just days away, many drivers are planning long distance holiday road trips to visit family and friends. Your road trip will go much smoother and will be much more enjoyable if you do a little extra planning in advance. Below are eight travel tips to help you plan for your road trip:

 

  1. Join a travel club – If you don’t already have a membership to a travel club, join one before you leave town. It will save you a lot of headaches if the unexpected happens while you’re on the road.
  2. Speaking of the “unexpected”… – Whenever you go on a long distance road trip, you should EXPECT the UNEXPECTED. Anticipate spending extra time on your road trip for whatever might come your way whether it’s a problem such as a flat tire or road construction that slows you down, or a nice surprise like happening upon a charming little town along your route or a tourist attraction that you didn’t know you’d be passing by. If the “unexpected” is a nice surprise, slow down and enjoy it.
  3. Check you air pressure – Before you leave town, check the air pressure in your tires, including the spare. Improper air pressure can lead to poor handling, lower gas mileage, and in extreme cases it can even cause overheating and a blowout.
  4. Take turns driving – Switch drivers often. It is safer to switch drivers frequently so no one gets tired or starts “zoning out” behind the wheel. Plus everyone gets a chance to enjoy the scenery while they are the passenger.
  5. Take frequent restroom breaks – As a rule, you should use the restroom every time you stop during your road trip. Even if you don’t think you have to go, go anyway. If you haven’t traveled your route before, you might not know when you’ll come across the next rest stop, gas station, etc.
  6. Plan rest days – If you’re driving from one side of the country to the other, your trip could take a few days. Build rest days into your travel schedule. This will give all drivers and passengers a chance to rest and regroup, not to mention it will be good for your car. Constant driving can be taxing on your car. If you take a break or two, your car will be less likely to overheat, breakdown, etc.
  7. Eat healthy – Roadside convenience stores aren’t exactly known for their healthy food options, so pack a cooler for your trip. When the munchies hit you in the car, you’ll be better off with a healthy snack like fruit, yogurt, juice, etc.
  8. Entertain the kids – If you’ll be traveling with children, your trip will be more enjoyable if the kids are entertained in the car. Bring travel games, books, magazines, a children’s music CD, etc. Plan to play games like “I Spy”, sing songs, and count blue cars or big rigs. If your kids are entertained, they are less likely to cry all the way to Grandma’s house making your ride more peaceful and enjoyable. And don’t forget their favorite blankets, stuffed, animals or other comfort items that might help them nap in the car.

 

For more tips, please check out 8 Travel Tips for a Holiday Weekend Road Trip.

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Nov 05 2014

Profile Image of M.K. Tenney

Checklist for Winterizing your Car – The Garage Plan Shop

Filed under Driving Safety,Seasonal

WipersCold weather can cause all kinds of transportation problems, so don’t put off having your car inspected and serviced now. Below is a checklist of the most important areas of your car to review or inspect in order to be prepared for winter.

 

  1. Check all of the fluids. This includes oil, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
  2. Have the battery serviced including cleaning the terminal ends and checking cables for wear. If it fails a load test or is more than four years old, replace it.
  3. Check tire tread for wear. If you drive on remote roads consider replacing all-season tires with snow tires for added traction in snow and ice.
  4. Make sure tires are inflated properly as cold temperatures will lower pressure. Specifications for your car are usually found on the edge of the door or in the glove box.
  5. Have your breaks inspected. Control on slick roads is key in the winter.
  6. Test defroster, heater, and all the lights including turn signals and headlights.
  7. Replace windshield wipers to ensure best visibility.
  8. Keep the gas tank full to prevent moisture freezing in the gas lines.
  9. Carry emergency items. Include a blanket, extra clothing plus boots, gloves, hat, ice scraper, snow shovel, flashlight, flares, kitty litter for traction, jumper cables, a phone charger, and maybe your favorite snacks to get you through that enormous traffic jam on the way home from work.

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