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How to Stay Safe on the Road During Inclement Weather

Inclement weather in New Jersey can range from a rapidly moving squall to major snowstorms. While you might not be able to do much about the weather, you do have control over how you drive and take care of your vehicle. Use these tips to stay safe on the road no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

Maintain the Brakes

Quality brakes make a difference for being able to stop properly in slick conditions. Unfortunately, winter weather can contribute to brake problems by causing corrosion. Watch for signs that your brakes are having issues such as making squealing or grinding sounds, or vibrations when you try to stop. If you suspect an issue is developing, then search for a brake service near me so that they are repaired or replaced before the next storm.

Keep the Tires in Good Condition

In addition to the brakes, your tires play a role in helping you maintain control of the vehicle on slick roads. Choose tires that are designed for the driving conditions. In some cases, it may be necessary to switch to all-season or snow tires if you live in an area that gets hit with freezing precipitation. Then, have the tires inspected, aligned, and rotated at your nearby auto service center.

Choose the Safest Route

Today, drivers benefit from GPS technology that allows you to check for alternate routes during times of inclement weather. Always check the weather and traffic reports before you head out for a drive. Then, assess your current route, and check for alternatives if your intended path contains hazardous conditions. Not only does this save you time, but you may also avoid potential accidents.

Take It Slow

After years of driving in bad weather, it is easy to get overly confident about your skills. However, even racecar drivers know to slow down when the road conditions become dangerous. Always follow the recommended speed limit in good weather, and be prepared to slow down by as much as half in icy conditions. In some cases, you may need to reduce the speed even more if you find that visibility is hindered by falling precipitation.

Leave Space Between Vehicles

On a slick road, your car will require more time to stop, even when the brakes are in good condition. Therefore, you will want to leave more room than usual between you and the car in front of you. This also protects you from having an accident if the driver in front stops suddenly. Remember that you should never slam on the brakes in ice or snow. Instead, gently apply pressure, and try to brake long before you actually need to stop.

Carry an Emergency Kit

At times, you may still find it necessary to call for a tow if you get stuck in snow or someone else hits your car. When this happens, it helps to have supplies on hand to keep you safe during an emergency. Keep an emergency kit in your car with things such as a raincoat to keep you dry in bad weather. Then, check to make sure your kit has safety supplies such as flares to increase your visibility.

When you can’t stay home, knowing how to stay safe on the road in inclement weather is critical. By caring for your car and adjusting your driving habits, you can look forward to arriving at your destination safely.

The Ultimate Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Proper maintenance of your vehicle not only helps to get the most mileage out of it, but it is also one of the most effective ways to avoid a dreaded breakdown on the side of the road. While the maintenance requirements for your specific vehicle may vary, you should be aware of the most common tasks that are required for the majority of cars and trucks on the roads. Read through this list and make sure to take your car in for a tune-up if you notice that it is in need of professional maintenance.

Check the Oil and Coolant Levels

The fluids in your car play an essential role in temperature regulation and help to lubricate moving parts. Begin by checking the oil and coolant levels regularly to make sure that the proper amount of fluids is in the engine to keep everything running smoothly. While you can expect some fluid loss over time, you should be concerned if you notice a drastically low level, since this could indicate a leak in your system. Make sure to mention this when you take your car in for its regular oil change and tune up.

Get the Brakes Inspected

The brakes on your car are subjected to tremendous pressure every time you tap the pedal. While high-quality brake pads and rotors can last for many miles, you must schedule regular brake inspections to make sure that they are in top condition. Between servicing, keep an eye out for warning signs of wear such as squeals when you brake or a pedal that has more give than it normally would.

Assess the Safety Features

At some point, almost every driver has noticed someone driving with a taillight out, and failing lights put you at risk for an accident. Face your car toward a solid wall such as the garage door, and turn on the headlights to see if you can detect them working. You can also recruit a partner to watch as you tap the brake lights and use the turn signals to make sure that they are working properly.

Give the Tires a Lookover

The tires on your car help to maintain traction on slippery surfaces, and they must be properly inflated to keep your car steering properly. Check the tire pressure every time that you stop for gas, and inspect the entire set at least once a month. Keep in mind that your spare tire should be included in this inspection so that it is always ready in case of an emergency.

Find Out About Long-Term Maintenance Needs

While oil changes and tire inflations occur often enough that you should not forget them, there are other maintenance needs that happen after a certain number of months or miles pass by. When you take your car into the auto service center, ask about what maintenance tasks are coming up so that you can plan accordingly. For example, four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles have a transfer case that requires the fluid to be filled and replaced periodically.

Although car maintenance might not be your favorite thing to do, it is critical to stay on top of the tasks that keep your vehicle running and protect your safety on the road. When you are strapped on time, just bring your vehicle in for a professional check up so that you never have to worry about an essential task going undone.

Heavy Duty Towing: How to Stay Safe on the Road

Whether you drive a big rig or a garbage collection truck, you know that there is tremendous responsibility when you get behind the wheel of a heavy duty vehicle. Naturally, proper training goes a long way toward helping you stay safe on the road, but you must also implement other strategies to keep you and the other drivers on the road safe once you become a professional truck driver. While our crew has heavy recovery equipment that can pull your truck out of any situation, we prefer for you to avoid needing a tow by using these tips to increase your safety on the road.

Do a Pre-Drive Safety Checklist

Safety checks are tedious and time-consuming, but they are also one of the most effective ways to increase safety. Always start your trips by checking to make sure that the fluids are at the appropriate levels and that there are not any torn hoses or frayed wires that could leave you stranded. Your pre-trip safety inspection should also include a check of the tires and brakes to make sure that your truck is in top condition for preventing accidents.

Stay Alert

As you know, it only takes a split second of being distracted to cause a serious accident. Establish a regular sleep schedule, and avoid driving when you are fatigued. Try to avoid relying on caffeine and sugar to keep you awake since these tend to cause your energy levels to quickly fade after the initial burst of energy. Once you are on the road, always try to look ahead for signs of potential problems so you have time to avoid them. Giving yourself enough time to stop long before you have to swerve to miss an obstacle helps you avoid roll-over accidents.

Adjust to Changing Road Conditions

Construction worksites, foul weather, and severe traffic can all occur seemingly out of nowhere, and each of these events places you at greater risk for needing heavy duty towing and recovery services. Make sure to adjust your speed as you hit these types of road hazards, and always leave generous amounts of space between your truck and the other vehicles. If necessary, pull over to the side of the road and assess the situation if proceeding onward seems dangerous.

Use Technology

Truck drivers are fortunate to have new technology available that reduces the risk of accidents. Check out new gadgets such as GPS systems for truckers that alert you of changes ahead such as impending traffic. Many of these devices even provide you with alternate routes that allow you to make good time without speeding, and you can also use these to plan your route since many devices even tell you what lane to get into for an upcoming turn.

With these tips in mind, you will hopefully avoid most roadside emergencies. However, you should always know how to handle the unexpected events such as a blown out tire by finding a safe place to stop while you wait for our heavy towing services. By making safety a priority, you can look forward to spending many years enjoying your career as a heavy duty truck driver.

The Most Common Car Maintenance Mistakes

Car maintenance is one of those things that some people enjoy more than others. While some people love tinkering beneath the hood and can be seen detailing their vehicle every weekend, others prefer to avoid even thinking about checking the oil. Unfortunately, overlooking car maintenance tasks is one of the main causes for requiring our auto repair and towing services. Make sure that you avoid these common car maintenance mistakes so that you never spend time waiting by the side of the road for a tow.

Forgetting to Check the Fluids

This is one task that you should be able to handle yourself, and it only takes a few seconds to see if the oil, coolant and brake fluid are all at the appropriate levels. Simply pop the hood, and check the reservoirs to make sure that the fluids fall within the proper lines. If you find this task difficult, then just ask the technician about it during your car’s next oil change and tune up. This way, you can avoid serious problems such as your car overheating due to a lack of coolant.

Overlooking the Tires

A quality set of tires will take you many miles, but you must keep them maintained to prevent blowouts and flats. Make it a habit to check out your tires before you get in your vehicle, and check the tire pressure every time you fill up the gas. The tires should also be rotated regularly to promote more even wear. Typically, this should be done every 5,000 miles or so, which makes it ideal to do when you arrange for your car’s oil change and tune up.

Failing to Notice Brake Problems

Drivers tend to understand that their car’s braking system is an essential safety component. However, this is one part of your car that tends to be overlooked until there is a major issue such as the brakes completely going out. Avoid getting into an accident by making regular brake inspections and maintenance a priority. During a professional inspection, the pads and rotors are checked for signs of wear, and the entire system is checked for leaks. Between these critical inspections, you should also keep an eye out for signs of brake problems that require ABS brake repair such as grinding noises or your car pulling to one side whenever you apply pressure to the pedals.

Skipping Recommended Procedures

Every vehicle type and model is different, which means that the schedule that you used for maintaining your old car might not work on your new one. Fortunately, every vehicle should come stocked with an owner’s manual that outlines how often you need to do things such as change the oil and replace the belts. Always read this manual, and follow the recommended schedule to ensure that your car is always in top condition for getting you where you want to go safely.

A little maintenance now is all it takes to prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road. By knowing how to check the basic features of your car and follow the recommended schedule for replacing components, you can look forward to driving your car for many miles with confidence that it can go the distance.

Winter Driving Tips for Drivers in New Jersey

Driving in New Jersey gets a little stressful in the winter months when it sometimes feels as though the snow will never stop falling. While it is best to stay home when the weather is hazardous, it simply isn’t always possible to avoid driving when snow continues for weeks. Fortunately, a little practice and common sense goes a long way toward helping you stay safe on the roads, and these tips will provide you with greater confidence when you must drive in the snow.

Keep Your Car Maintained

The safety features on your car become even more important in winter weather. Make sure that the windshield wipers are in good condition to keep your view clear, and inspect the brakes to see if you need to arrange for car repair. Once you know the safety features are ready to go, take it one step further by making sure that your car’s tires and the battery are ready for the colder temperatures so that you don’t get stranded.

Adjust Your Speed

One of the most effective things you can do to avoid an accident in slick conditions is to simply slow down. When snow covers the ground, you may need to reduce your speed down from the recommended limit by as much as half. Try to plan to leave early enough that you are not pressured to rush and drive faster than is safe given the current road conditions.

Use Caution When Stopping

At our auto service center, we perform a variety of services such as rotor replacement that keep your brakes in good working condition. However, you must also know how to use your brakes correctly to avoid potential skids and spin-outs. Never slam on your brakes. Instead, apply firm, steady pressure with your foot on the pedal until your car stops. It is also best to avoid stopping on a hill if the road is covered in ice.

Know How to Get Unstuck

Sticking to plowed roads is the best way to avoid dealing with a stuck vehicle. Yet, you should also know how to get your car out of a snowdrift or past an ice patch if you can’t avoid driving into one. Carry kitty litter or sand in your car to use to generate traction on slick surfaces, and always remember to avoid spinning your tires since this tends to make you get stuck worse.

Leave Extra Room

In winter weather, one of the biggest hazards on the road is other drivers. Try to give yourself plenty of room on the road so that you have time to react if the car in front of you spins out or comes to a sudden stop. If people drive too fast for your comfort, then stay in the slow lane and turn on your hazards to alert other drivers that you are not going the full speed limit.

Keep safe this winter season by adding a few safety strategies to your normal driving routine. While it does take time to learn how to drive in snow or icy conditions, you will feel like a pro in no time with a little practice and careful car maintenance.

What Everyone Should Have in Their Winter Car Kits

New Jersey is known for its frigid winter weather that can quickly turn a minor car problem into an emergency situation. For this reason, we always recommend that every driver have a winter kit stored in their car that has everything needed to handle an unexpected event on the road. As you prepare to drive through the snow this season, use this guide to make sure your kit is fully stocked with winter gear.

A Small Shovel

Few things are worse than getting stuck in the snow, but this is possible if you swerve to avoid an accident or misjudge the lack of traction on a road. Your car kit should have a small shovel; you can easily find compact ones that fit in the back of any car. If you get stuck in a drift, simply use the shovel to dig the snow away from the tires so that you have a path allowing the tires to grip the pavement.

Traction Materials

In some instances, you might need to do more than just dig your way out, and this commonly occurs when your tires hit ice. Keep some type of material in your car that you can use to create more traction. A bag of sand, kitty litter, or small pebbles are all great materials that can be used to create traction.

Jumper Cables

When you take your car in for a complete oil change and tune up, be sure to ask our technicians about the condition of your car’s battery. During the winter, fluctuating temperatures can cause the battery fluid to get low enough that it no longer works properly. Once you know your car battery is in good condition, be sure to throw some jumper cables in the kit just in case you or someone else leaves the lights on.

Tire Changing Equipment

A flat tire is unsafe to drive on in any weather, but it is especially dangerous to try to maneuver your vehicle on slick roads with a bad tire. Make sure that your kit is equipped with a jack, wrench, and a strong set of gloves to keep your hands warm as you work. If there’s space, a portable air compressor is another item to add to your kit that can get you to safety if one of your tires gets low.

Warm Clothing and a Blanket

You should also be prepared to stay safe if you must wait on the side of the road for a member of our car repair company to come help. Add a warm coat, gloves, and hat to the kit for each member of your family, and consider adding snow boots and a waterproof jacket in case you must be outside in winter weather for any length of time.

Winter weather creates serious hazards on the road, and plummeting temperatures can escalate minor car problems, such as a cracked hose, into serious issues. Make it a habit to check your winter kit periodically to replace any items that are needed, and you will always be prepared to handle any roads

Road Safety Tips for Big Rig Drivers

As a big rig driver, you have a serious responsibility to watch out for everyone’s safety on the road. While proper training goes a long way toward decreasing your chances of having an accident, there are other factors at play that you must keep in mind. Always follow these road safety tips for truck drivers to ensure that you don’t get involved in a traffic accident.

Plan Your Route Carefully

Avoiding hazardous driving conditions can prevent many accidents. Before you climb up into the driver’s seat, take a few minutes to research the route. If your intended route is covered in snow or filled with heavy traffic, then reassess the situation to determine whether or not an alternate route is available that is safer. You should also plan plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely so that you are not tempted to speed.

Always Conduct a Pre-Trip Check

Your big rig must undergo regular professional inspections to drive legally on public roads. Yet, many things can go wrong between trips. Always begin your drive with a pre-trip check of all of the essential components of your big rig. It’s always better to discover that you have a brake leak or damaged tire before you are barreling down the freeway. This way, you can arrange for the repairs to be done at our auto service center so that you can get your truck safely back on the road as soon as possible.

Monitor Your Truck’s Space Cushion

When you drive a big rig regularly, it is easy to forget the size of your vehicle. Always watch to make sure that the top, bottom and sides of the vehicle do not get too close to other cars or objects. Be familiar with the height of your truck as you drive under bridges or through tunnels, and use caution as you change lanes to avoid hitting cars that are in your blind spots.

Know When to Reduce the Speed

Hitting deadlines on time is part of a trucker’s life. Yet, you must always be careful not to let a looming deadline cause you to speed. Remember that the posted speed limit may still be too high if you are driving through hazardous road conditions, around a curve or in a work zone. Be prepared to slow down, but do not go so slow as to impede traffic. You should also remember that taking a ramp too fast is a common cause of rollover accidents. Stay aware of where you are going, and always reduce your speed as you drive up or down a ramp.

Take Care of Yourself

Drivers sometimes forget that they are one of the most important safety features of their vehicle. Never drive your truck when you are tired, and double check those safety features before you head out. If you do notice a problem when you are driving, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road so that you can wait for our heavy duty towing service to arrive.

When you love driving, a career as a truck driver opens up many opportunities to travel. By making sure that you always stay safe on the road, you can look forward to many more years of driving your big rig.

5 Tips for Maintaining Your Brake System

The brakes on your car are one of the most important features for keeping you and any passengers safe. While most people keep up with their oil changes, it is common for the brake system to be neglected until it shows signs of a serious problem. Proper care of your car’s brakes will not only keep you safe, but regular maintenance can also reduce the wear and tear that leads to more frequent replacements. Use these tips to keep your brake system maintained so that you can feel confident that your car will stop every time you press the pedal.

Check the Brake Fluid Level

You should check your brake fluid regularly to make sure that it is not low or absorbing water. Begin by looking at the reservoir to make sure that the fluid falls between the two lines that indicate whether it is too high or too low. If the brake fluid is low, then it needs to be filled to the appropriate level. However, you should be wary if it is extremely low because this could indicate a leak somewhere along the system. Cloudy or dark brake fluid also indicates a need to take your car to the auto service center for an inspection.

Keep Up With Fluid Changes

The brake fluid should be changed regularly to ensure that contaminants do not get into the system and that it has the proper viscosity to do its job. Follow the recommended time schedule for fluid changes that is provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer. In most cases, this will be based upon the mileage or a specific period of time.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Your brakes should be checked every time you have your tires rotated. During this inspection, the fluid, rotors and pads will be checked to see if they need to be replaced. In most cases, you will need to have this done every six months, but the system may need to be inspected more frequently if you drive long distances regularly or you drive a vehicle with a heavy load such as a large truck.

Watch for the Brake Warning Light

With every new car, you should familiarize yourself with the warning lights that are displayed on the dashboard if something goes wrong. Never ignore a brake warning light because this could indicate that you might not be able to stop your vehicle. If the warning light comes on, then contact a tow service that can safely transport your vehicle to the repair shop.

Know When a Replacement is Needed

At some point, every brake system needs to be replaced. For instance, the pads may begin to emit a noise when they are worn down too much to help the car stop. When a replacement is needed, take your car to a certified auto repair company that always uses quality parts so that your new brake system is more likely to go the distance.

Well-maintained brake systems are critical for keeping everyone safe in your vehicle, and you should be able to trust that your car will stop when its time. Make sure that brake maintenance and inspections are a part of your car care routine so that you hopefully never see that dreaded warning light.