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Driving through water and hurricane preparedness

What Women Auto Know


Monday, September 24, 2012    

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WHETHER the news is predicting an actual hurricane or a long bout of wet weather, it's important that you get your car ready, so you're prepared for any eventualities.

Guy Eaton, service manager at Stewart's Auto, says there are several steps you should take to ensure that your car is wet-weather ready.

These are:

1. Fill up with enough fuel to keep you for a few days.

2. Ensure that your tyre pressure is good. It's a good idea to invest in a pressure gauge. Also ensure that your tyres aren't worn, as worn tyres don't have the grip you'll need if you have to drive on wet, slippery roads.

3. Check the fluid levels in your car.

4. Ensure that your wiper blades are in good condition.

5. Check all lights to ensure they're in working order.

6. Ensure that the radio is working so you can listen to the news.

7. Check your battery. If it's over two years old have it checked by an expert and replace if necessary.

A hurricane or any sort of wet weather system may involve you having to drive through water. Of course, common sense would dictate that you try your hardest not to do this, but we understand that with the state of the country's roads, and sometimes unpredictable weather, it sometimes becomes a necessity.

The general rule of thumb is that if you can wait for the rain to ease and the water to run off the roads, you should do that.

If that's not possible, there are several dos and don'ts to ensure that you don't have a big repair bill after driving through water, Eaton said.

These include:

1. Turn off the air conditioner if you have to drive through water. Not only does this reduce the amount of load on the engine for pulling through the water, the auxiliary fan will stay off, and lessen the risk of water being sucked into the engine compartment.

2. Drive slowly. Don't be tempted to speed up because the driver behind you is blowing his horn. Go slowly to reduce the risk of getting water all over the engine compartment.

3. Apply slight brake pressure while stepping on the gas. Note that stopping will be difficult with wet brakes, so once you get out of the water, avoid sudden braking until the brakes are dry. To dry them, apply a little pressure to the brakes at intervals while driving.

4. Keep your headlights on, even in the middle of the day.

5. Make sure there's enough space between your car and the one in front so you have space for braking.

6. Stay in the middle of the road if possible and try to remember where potholes are. The last thing you want is a burst tyre in the middle of a flooded road.

7. If your car dies while you're driving through water, do not restart it. Have it towed to your mechanic. Your mechanic should check the oils to see if they're contaminated and change if necessary, as well as check the fuse box and check for damage by placing the car on a diagnostic scanner.





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