As the classic saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” When it comes to Pennsylvania’s spring weather, you need to prepare your car for the rainy days ahead. Whether it’s the casual sprinkle or the occasional downpour, follow these important to-do’s for your car’s maintenance and for your own safety:
Your tires play a huge role in keeping you safe on the road. Properly maintaining them can mean the difference between a safe drive and a slippery one. In the rainy weather, the biggest things to consider are proper inflation and tire tread. Without either of these, you are more at risk of hydroplaning, which is when your tires lose traction on the road and begin sliding on top of any amount of water on the road.
Keeping your tires inflated properly helps your tires wear more evenly, which improves their grip on the road. As your tires do wear down, the depth of the tire tread begins to decrease. That means that there is less grip from the rubber onto the road. When in doubt, use the penny test! Stick a penny upside-down into the groove of your tire. If you can see Abe Lincoln’s head or hair, you should consider having your tires checked and replaced.
This one should seem pretty obvious, but a good pair of wipers are crucial in the rainy weather. If your wipers are streaky and don’t clear off the windshield properly, it’s time to purchase a new set of wiper blades. They’re fairly inexpensive, and make a huge difference in a rainstorm. Increased visibility means increased safety, and less headaches from the rainy day traffic.
You can usually tell from the sound when your brakes need to be replaced, as you’ll begin to hear that familiar high-pitched squeal. Your brakes are another key part of rainy day driving, since the wet roads become slippery. Have your brakes checked to ensure you’ll be able to slow down at an appropriate distance, stop quickly when needed, and take your turns slowly.
In Pennsylvania law, your headlights must be on when your wipers are on. This helps other cars see you on the road, whether it’s day or night. Give your headlights a quick test by turning them on while you’re parked, and go around to the front and back of the car to check them out. You’ll want to test your regular front headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and front and back blinkers. Your lights are important enough on a dry weather day, but it’s all the more amplified when those spring showers are coming down.
It’s a simple check, but keeping your windshield wiper fluid topped off will be useful surrounding the rain. You’re probably familiar when after the rain has subsided, and the water from the roads (plus the dirt and oils) is still getting kicked up onto your windshield until it dries. The remaining muck on your windows hinders your visibility, so it’s best to be able to give it a quick spritz.
Don’t let the spring showers slip you up! Follow these tips and make sure your car is ready for the wet roads. Stop by to visit our auto repair specialists in West Chester to make sure you’re prepared for the rainy weather ahead!