Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to Put On Tire Chains

If you live in a snowy climate or plan on going on a vacation in the mountains, chances are that you're going to need tire chains. Even drivers who are experienced with driving in snow and icy conditions must have tire chains to maintain traction and stay in control on mountain roads and highways. 
  1. Make sure your tire chains fit your tires. Most tire chain packaging have a guide that indicate the appropriate types of tires, and stores and markets where chains are sold have guides (or helpful employees!) as well. Never use chains that are too large or too small for your tires.
  2. Lay the chains flat near the tire and remove all twists and tangles. Arrange the chains so that the side with sharp open hooks is facing down and away from the tire. If the hooks facing up, they will eventually face towards the tire and cause damage.
  3. On one end of the chains, identify the "C" hook and the bow lever. 
  4. Drive the car onto the chain by slowly and carefully rolling over the edge. The bow lever side should be on the outer side of the tire, and the "C" hook should be on the inner side. Stop when you have the connecting part of the chains just in front of the tire when the wheels stop, so you can adjust them.
  5. Go to the front and insert the bow lever through the chain link. Pull back on the bow lever to tighten the chains. Pull it again past the next link, and release. 
  6. After it is hooked, check the chains for a good, tight fit and make sure that they are centered on the tire, with the same number of free links on the inside and outside. If a hand can be slipped between the tire and the side/center chain, then it is too loose.
  7. After installation, try driving with the chains for half a mile, stop, and re-tigheten if necessary.
Picture courtesy: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Snow_Chain_Honda.jpg

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Protecting Your Car From Morning Frost

It happens when you least expect it. You have the guts to get yourself out of bed in the morning, leave the warm safety of your blankets, and enter the freezing world outside only to have your car look like a popsicle when you're ready to go. Little did you know that while you were comfortably sleeping in your toasty bed, your car was out in the cold winter air, exposed to frigid temperatures all night long. Give it some love and give it some time, after all, you can't get to work driving an igloo.

Here are some tips to defrost your exposed automobile during the winter:

Park it in a garage!

Yeah, this seems like a no-brainer. Find a garage. Borrow your friend's garage. Borrow your neighbor's garage. Keep in mind that it's advised, but not required, that you tell your friend or neighbor about your plans. If you don't, at least make them some pancakes when you show up asking for them to kindly open their garage door. This is the most surefire way to prevent your car from freezing over.

Park in a garage-like place!

Ok, so you don't have a generous friend or neighbor with an open space in their comfy personal parking lot. That's fine. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Stop mopping around wishing you had a garage and start adopting the mindset of a poser. Forget those fancy garage owners! Nature is your garage! If you park your car in an enclosed space, protected from wind, the chances that your car will be frosted over in the morning greatly decrease. This can be anywhere from an alleyway, to the middle of a grove of trees. Find shelter! Think of it as returning to your basic caveman instincts.

Spend Money!

That's right. The best things in life aren't free. Spend a little on your frostbitten vehicle and buy it a sweater to cuddle up in. It's the least you can do. Enough with the bling, your car looks coolest when not encased in ice. There are many products out there: from windshield protectors, with flashy names like 'Winter Warrior' and 'Motor Trend', to complete car jackets. Your car will thank you for buying it something nice by not freezing your butt off when you try to get to work.

Stop being lazy!

And bust out a squeegee and some cold water. It's time to swallow your pride and scrape off the ice like a true arctic commuter. But take it easy hotshot, using warm or hot water to melt away the ice will most likely cause your windows to crack. (It's called thermal expansion. Check it out.) Also, if you are still in the cash spending mood, there are special solutions for beating the frost without breaking your windshield. You can also mix water with vinegar for an extra potent ice-melting potion. So just suck it up and let everyone see you in your pajamas, bravely battling the elements. Who knows, if you scrape off enough, you might be able to throw a good snowball or two at your arrogant garage-owning buddies.

Photo c/o: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110072237719234546165/posts/TKsxGCYTg4M