Diagnostic Code Scanner

May 12th, 2008

Actron CP9135 AutoScanner Diagnostic Code Scanner with On Screen Definitions for OBDII (Post-1996) Vehicles

Price: $64.04 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.

For ODB II (1996 and newer) vehicles. Provides trouble code data, then erases trouble code and turns Check Engine light off. Helps determine if vehicle will pass emissions test. Quick read and erase DTC hot keys. Large LCD screen. Field upgrade. Oil- and grease-resistant housing. Includes 8-ft. cable. U.S.A.

“Recently my check engine light came on in my 2002 Toyota Highlander. This has been the third or fourth occurance since purchasing the vehicle as new. The Auto Scanner accurately diagnosed the code and saved me $89.95 in diagnostic fees at the dealership. The service writer still tried to pressure me into having the diagnostics run, but I stood firm and refused the service. Having the scanner is a real confidence booster when taking your vehicle in for service.”

Cleaning Tips for Your Car

May 8th, 2008

For most Americans, their car is the second biggest investment they will make in their lifetimes. The average price of a light vehicle is $28,715, according to the Comerica Index. It makes sense to have an annual cleaning ritual to help preserve and maintain your car, just as you undertake regular cleaning to care for your home.

“Aesthetic maintenance is important to preserving a vehicle’s integrity and value,” says Ron Fausnight, Shell Car Care technical expert. “Routine maintenance, including washing and waxing your vehicle, can be viewed as preventative maintenance that helps to preserve a vehicle’s paint from the elements while restoring a polished, new look.”

DP Gel Wheel Cleaner 32oz.

Price: $15.99


* Clings to wheels and will not run off
* Safe for all types of wheels
* Thick gel formula
* Great value for professional and at-home detailers

Tires and wheels are often overlooked when washing a car, but they are two areas that take the most abuse throughout the year. Road grime, salt and brake dust can quickly collect on wheels, and without proper removal, can lead to discoloration of aluminum alloys and corrosion and pitting of steel alloys used. When removing the debris, use a cleaner that is pH-balanced to avoid any potential damage to the composition and finish of wheels. A pH-balanced product such as the Black Magic Titanium Wheel Cleaner is as gentle as soap and water, but contains stronger cleansing and shine agents that are safe to use on all wheel types.

“While all preventative maintenance is important, maintaining a vehicle’s safety features should be an even higher priority,” Fausnight says. “Roadway safety needs a multifaceted car care approach, and taking steps to ensure visibility is important.”

Changing wiper blades at least once a year, combined with using a hydrophobic windshield repellent such as Rain-X Original Treatment, can dramatically clear a driver’s vision. The treatment seals the microscopic pores of glass, causing any precipitation to bead up and roll off the windshield. In fact, in tests conducted by a major university, the increased visibility provided by Rain-X improved driving response time up to a full second or more.

“Regular maintenance for your vehicle does not necessarily only relate to the exterior. With gas prices climbing higher than ever, many people are looking for ways to clean the inside of an engine to maintain a vehicle’s performance and fuel economy,” Fausnight says.

In some cases, cheaper gasoline can be a low-quality fuel that meets the minimum requirement of detergency by the EPA, but may allow deposits of gunk to form in a fuel system. One way to help remove this gunk is by using a fuel additive to clear deposits from fuel injectors, intake valves and combustion chambers.

One such product is the new Shell V-Power Complete Fuel System Cleaner that contains more than three times the required cleansing agents by government standards for premium gasoline. The fuel treatment actively cleans all components of the fuel system restoring optimum performance and fuel economy while also protecting from future deposit build-up. When used regularly, a product like Shell V-Power Complete Fuel System Cleaner can actually reduce carbon monoxide emissions and help the engine run cleaner.

Incorporating these tips into an annual cleaning routine, and performing regular maintenance, are important steps to preventing the deterioration of a vehicle and may help to save money in the long run.

“Clear To Drive” Campaign Educates Motorists on the Potential Dangers of Drowsy Driving

April 9th, 2008

Drowsy driving can put anyone at risk for an accident, and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards wants to make sure motorists know to stay alert while driving. Edwards, who suffers from allergies, has teamed up with the makers of the non-drowsy allergy medication, CLARITIN, for the “Clear to Drive” campaign. The campaign aims to make sure people know how important it is to read medicine labels to see if there are any warnings about drowsiness before they get behind the wheel.

“As someone who races cars for a living, driver safety is an issue that’s important to me, and that’s why I’m participating in the “Clear to Drive” campaign,” says Edwards. “When I’m driving at 180 miles per hour, I can’t risk taking a medicine that makes me drowsy. I choose CLARITIN because it gives me powerful, non-drowsy relief from my worst allergy symptoms.”

As a spokesperson for the “Clear to Drive” campaign, Edwards will record a radio announcement to raise awareness about drowsy driving, which can potentially result from taking medicines that may cause drowsiness. The radio announcement will be available on cleartodrive.com – a new Web site that will provide valuable information on safe driving. The site will also feature facts about drowsy driving and tips for preventing this growing problem.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Many drivers don’t realize that some common over-the-counter medicines could cause drowsiness. In fact, according to a recent survey, four in 10 Americans (38 %) report that there have been times when they were driving and realized that the medicine they had taken was making them drowsy.

“Taking a medication that may cause drowsiness can put people at risk for nodding off behind the wheel and potentially harming themselves or others,” says Marjorie Slankard, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “It’s important to carefully read the labels of medications and understand the side effects.”

Tips for Preventing Drowsy Driving
* Always remember to check medicine labels, including allergy medicines, for warnings about drowsiness before getting behind the wheel
* Avoid driving if you’re feeling drowsy
* Schedule breaks during long trips or arrange for a travel companion
* Get adequate sleep
* Stop driving if you start feeling drowsy behind the wheel

For more tips on safe driving and additional information about the “Clear to Drive” campaign, visit cleartodrive.com.

How to Keep Your Car Cool This Summer

March 25th, 2008

After spending the long, cold winter bundled up, a lot of people are itching to take a road trip. Whether that means you’ll be heading half way across the country or just to the next town, there’s just something about that feeling you get when you hop into the car, roll down the windows and drive.

Auto Ventshade 94260 Ventivisor Deflector - 4 Piece


  • Helps reduce heat buildup in parked vehicles by allowing windows to be kept partially open
  • Easy to install with strong automotive grade tape
  • Made of reinforced acrylic
  • Keeps the rain out and lets air in
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty

But when your car feels like it’s 200 degrees inside on those warm sunny days, it’s hard to get in, much less going. So what can you do about it? The best solution would be to park in a garage or in the shade all the time, but a more realistic answer to this age-old problem is to add window vents to your car.

These decorative “eves” allow you to leave windows open a crack in the summertime so air can circulate. Warm air vents out and the cooler outside air finds its way in, and you don’t have to worry about a sudden rainstorm. “AVS Ventvisors are a simple and elegant solution to a problem made worse in recent years by vehicle design. Today, many vehicles have side windows that slant inward at the top, to reduce wind resistance. As a result, when it rains, water runs off the roof and into the vehicle if a widow is open even slightly. Ventvisors will keep the rain out and let the fresh air in,” says Peter May, spokesman for AVS, a brand name known for its quality line of car customizing accessories.

His company offers two window vent styles that you can install yourself. The original Ventvisor attaches easily to the exterior of your car with strong 3M tape. The AVS In-Channel Ventvisor installs inside the window channel, giving your car a sleek, streamlined appearance. An added bonus is that no exterior tape touches the vehicle’s paint.

Made from heavy-duty acrylic, the window vents can be painted to match your car, or you can choose to use them as is, in a stylish smoke tint or chrome. Window vents are available for both the front and rear doors, and assisting with air exchange isn’t their only benefit. While you’re on the road, a window vent can also decrease wind noise for a more pleasant driving experience. For more information on AVS products, or to access a store locator, visit www.lundinternational.com.

In addition to taking steps to make your car feel cooler, it’s also important to make sure its systems will function well in warmer weather. Here’s a checklist to follow before setting out on a road trip:

* Change oil and oil filter
* Inspect radiator coolant, hoses and belts
* Have a fuel system inspection done to make sure the intake valve and combustion chamber are free from deposits
* Inspect the suspension system and replace the shocks if worn to ensure a smooth ride.
* Check brakes
* Check the tire pressure

Road Safety Starts with Good Tires

March 6th, 2008

Regular auto maintenance is imperative to ensure your car is functioning at its best. While oil changes and seasonal preparation are important, one of the most critical parts of your car to maintain is also something that is often overlooked – the tires.

“The truth is that your driving experience is only as good as the tires on your car. And because your tires are the only thing that come between you and the road, it is important to get the right tires so you get the safest driving experience,” says Rick Brennan, executive at Kumho Tire USA.

High performance tires are a great option to help ensure your safety on the road. Most new cars come equipped with performance tires to match today’s more sophisticated handling packages — heavy-duty suspension systems, anti-lock braking systems, increased load-bearing potential and more. High performance tires not only accommodate driving at higher speeds but also perform more safely, especially in the most challenging conditions: slick, rainy roads; tight cornering; and quick stops. So although they cost a bit more, the tradeoff in increased safety is worth the investment.

“Even if you drive a luxury vehicle, performance tires can be beneficial. A high performance tire can deliver 2 percent better braking in a 60-to-zero situation. It appears to be a small number, but that equals about 5 to 6 feet difference, which could be the difference between an accident or not,” comments Brennan.

Why put off shopping for new tires when they are such a crucial part of your safety while driving? Here are the basics to get you started:

Load Index
Your current tire will have a size stamped on the sidewall. It will look something like: 215/55R16 93V. The “93″ is referred to as your load index followed by a single letter (V) identifying the tire’s speed rating. The load index is the indication of weight the tire can carry safely. It is dangerous to have a load index less than the number that is specified. If you have an improper load index, you could have a blowout.

Speed Rating
A common trade off for a higher speed rating is a less comfortable ride. For instance an “S” speed-rated tire will give a more comfortable ride compared to “H” speed-rated tire, but the “H” will function better at higher speeds. The ride comfort characteristics can be attributed to the tire’s overall stiffness. A tire capable of running at high speeds requires a more stiff construction in order to provide the necessary high speed stability and durability. A dealer will not sell you a lower speed rated tire than what is outlined in your vehicle’s manual. It is a liability and not considered safe.

High Performance Tires
In order to maximize tire handling, the high performance tread widths are wider than a typical tire. This allows maximum contact area with the road surface. The tread pattern incorporates larger tread blocks for increased stiffness that performs well on dry and wet surfaces. The stiffer construction helps when traveling at high speeds and enhances your handling abilities. High performance tires are made with different compounds that help them perform better on the road. High performance tires typically have a speed rating of “H” or higher.

One high performance tire perfect for luxury touring or sports sedans is the Kumho ECSTA LX Platinum. The tire features an asymmetrical tread design, three dimensional waffle sipes, a jointless nylon cap ply, and a 60,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. With exceptional mileage, outstanding ride comfort, low noise levels, exceptional snow traction and outstanding dry and wet handling, this tire was made to keep you safe on the road

New Tire Pressure Monitors Do Not Replace ‘Old’ Tire Gauge

March 1st, 2008

Starting last fall with the rollout of 2008 models, all new vehicles are required by federal law to come equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to give drivers a warning when tire pressure drops significantly.

Accutire MS-4350B Programmable Digital Tire Gauge

Price: $11.99 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.


* Programmable to allow recording of factory-recommended tire pressure for both front and rear tires
* Reads 5-99 PSI in 0.5 pound units
* Extra large, blue, backlit LCD screen for easy viewing
* Features ergonomic “easy grip” shape
* Comes with five-year manufacturer warranty

However, those new-fangled gadgets are not a replacement for your old-fashioned tire gauge, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), a group that represents tire manufacturers.

Federal law requires every new 2008 model year vehicle to come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system that will warn a driver when tire pressure drops 25 percent. The Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents tire manufacturers, says that is no reason to throw away your tire gauge.

“Motorists risk tire damage if they wait to check tires until they see a dashboard warning light after a 25 percent loss of tire pressure,” says Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president. “For many vehicles, a pressure loss of less than 25 percent increases risk. That’s why motorists must check tire pressure every month with a tire gauge.”

An RMA survey indicates that tire pressure monitoring systems may cause drivers to become more complacent about tire care. Two-thirds of drivers reported that they would be “less concerned with routinely maintaining” tire pressure if their vehicle had a monitoring system. The federal government estimates that under inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year.

Additionally, when asked how often they would check tire pressure if their vehicle were equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, an alarming 40 percent of drivers said that they would either “never” manually check tire pressure or check it “only when the warning light comes on.”

“Tire pressure monitoring systems can be effective at detecting an unexpected loss of tire pressure,” Zielinski says. “But it is no substitute for regular tire maintenance with a tire gauge.” Tires can lose one to two pounds-per-square inch (PSI) of pressure each month.

RMA recommends that tire pressure be checked at least once per month and before long trips. Motorists should use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure that is found on a sticker on the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. Never use the pressure listed on the tire sidewall. Also check tires when they are cold or wait at least three hours after driving on them.

More Horsepower for Less than $100

February 29th, 2008

Want more horsepower without paying much to get it? Here are three ways today’s top engine builders get more power from their racing engines and their personal cars, without spending a lot of money to do it.

K&N Replacement Air Filter

These reusable K&N Filtercharger air filters outflow any other filter–up to 900 cfm–for power gains of up to 15 HP. They use a surgical cotton fabric soaked in oil as their tack barrier. Sandwiched between an aluminum screen wire, the holes in the cotton catch tumbling air and straighten it out. Since air moving in a straight line flows faster, the filter actually improves airflow. They can be covered by up to 1/4 in. of debris before air restriction makes cleaning necessary. The filters come pre-oiled, and many are available as a direct fit for your application.

Upgrade your lubricants – Friction and heat from engine components and the drive train rob horsepower and performance. Minimizing this power loss can be as easy as upgrading to one of the newer high performance lubricants that are available. For instance, in a recent test by Horsepower TV, upgrading to high performance motor oil freed up 8 horsepower in a V8 engine. Video of the test and more information on upgrading lubricants can be found at www.royalpurple.com.

Replace and/or upgrade your air filter – During the life of your engine, thousands of cubic feet of air will pass through the engine cylinders. Dust and other material in the engine can cause excessive wear and operating problems. It’s imperative that you keep air filters clean by regularly replacing them.

To further enhance performance, upgrade to a performance air filter, which can free up an additional 2 to 3 horsepower. While not a tremendous power gain, the relatively low cost of a filter and ease of installation (about 5 minutes) more than make up for it.

Use higher octane gas or an octane booster – Go for the good stuff the next time you’re at the pump. Depending on your vehicle, high octane gasoline can provide an increase in horsepower. Even a marginal gain in switching from the lowest octane gasoline to the highest octane may be worth a few extra pennies at the pump to you.

For those who want to see a more measurable increase in power, a racing blend of gasoline will work well or one of the numerous brands of octane booster commonly available at auto parts stores.

Upgrading your gas, lubricants and air filter are a cheap and easy way to increase horsepower. These simple steps will also extend the life of your engine and help prevent expensive repairs.

Used Car Buying Tips the Experts Use

January 17th, 2008

When it comes to buying a used car, you should not only bring in outside, professional expertise, but make a professional out of yourself, too.

By combining a physical inspection from a licensed mechanic (which you should always try to do), with the information directly available to you as a consumer, such as vehicle history reports, you can empower yourself with the knowledge and confidence you need to make the best decision possible.

No one will dispute that fact that uncertainty is the most prominent and unwelcome part of the used car-buying process. Since the first Model T rolled off the line, people have been fixing and selling vehicles without disclosing their full, and sometimes checkered, pasts. And, be it your first or 14th used car purchase, the questions always loom: Am I buying a problem vehicle? Has it been in an accident? How do I know this isn’t a lemon?

In this information age, you can arm yourself with the same information and techniques professionals use to answer these questions, and make an educated and confident used car purchase. These techniques include:

1.) Pedals and Steering: Examine the pedals for wear. While the paint and interior are often updated to make a car appear less worn, sellers rarely replace pedals. Also, with the engine off, jiggle the steering wheel back and forth. There should be less than 1 inch of play and no clunking noises. If there are, the car may need a steering gearbox, rack or other front suspension repair such as tie rod ends.

2.) Frame Damage: Never buy a frame-damaged car. Check the radiator core support, which connects the front fenders and holds the top of the radiator and includes the hood latch. It should be bolted, not welded on either side. Inspect the bolt heads at the top of the fenders inside the hood; scratch marks indicate that the fenders have been replaced or realigned after a crash.

Uneven tire wear is another indication of possible frame damage. When cars are involved in a major collision and frame damage occurs, the frame often remains slightly off keel and the tires will show this hidden problem.

3.) Paint: Carefully check the paint job, taking note of any rust spots, dents or scratches. Look at the sides of the car from end-on for waviness, which indicates paint work. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between panels; roughness indicates residue left from masking tape, uneven gaps between door, hood, and trunk panels and their openings indicate possibility of a major repair. Consider bringing a small magnet with you. If the body of the car is steel, then a failure of the magnet to stick can indicate the extensive use of body compound to conduct a repair. When using this trick however, keep in mind that many newer models use fiberglass for certain body panels.

4.) Fluids: Remove the oil filler cap. Check for signs of thick, dark sludge, which may indicate the vehicle didn’t receive frequent oil changes. Look at the condition of the coolant in the overflow tank; filthy brown coolant means a rusted cooling system and possibly a leaky head gasket. Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red. An old car may have dark transmission fluid, but the oil should not look or smell burnt. Check underneath the vehicle for fluid leaks.

5.) Vehicle History Report: Beyond your own firsthand detective work, checking a car’s vehicle history is one of the most important things you can do before making a purchase. Vehicle history reports like Experian’s AutoCheck (www.autocheck.com) pull data from various sources, including state department of motor vehicle records, auto auctions and dealers.

AutoCheck now features the AutoCheck Score, which assigns each vehicle a numeric score based on that vehicle’s specific history. In much the same way as a credit score distills large amounts of information into a simple, easy-to-understand numeric score, this first-ever vehicle score makes it easier to understand the vehicle’s full history and compare that car against the average score of similar vehicles.

Vehicle history reports factor in reported events such as title and registration information, accident, auction data, the vehicle’s emission history, whether it’s ever been repossessed or stolen, whether the vehicle has ever been a government car, police car or taxi and whether it’s ever been leased. The AutoCheck Score does the analysis for you, helping you easily understand what a vehicle history report really says about that used car.

Becoming a savvier car buyer will not only allow you to make a better investment, but it can also protect you and your family from an unsafe vehicle. Gone are the days of simply kicking tires and staring blankly under the hood. With a little research and some careful inspection, you can steer clear of problem used vehicles.

Motor Oil Facts, Not Friction

January 17th, 2008

Many people don’t know how to select motor oil that will help them get optimum performance out of their car. People often just select the oil their father used, or they may take the suggestion of a counter person at an auto parts store who may not know any more about cars than they do.

Mobil Oil Mobil 1 Synthetic 0W40

Price: $5.99

Mobil 1 0W40 Synthetic Oil with SuperSyn helps give your car or truck exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even the most extreme use. This unique motor oil features a new, proprietary SuperSyn anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond conventional motor oils. 1 Quart.

There are meaningful differences in motor oils and choosing the right one can have a major impact on how well your car runs. Selecting the right oil is the quickest and cheapest way to improve your car’s performance and reliability.

Two components determine how well motor oil will perform in your car. One factor is the base oil, and the other is the combination of chemicals (additives) that are added to the base oil.

Base oils
The two primary types of base oils used are mineral and synthetic. Mineral oils are by-products of refined crude oil. Refining helps reduce the impurities but leaves molecules of all shapes and sizes. Synthetic oils are manmade compounds whose molecules are all the same size and shape; consequently, synthetic oil has less friction and performs significantly better than mineral oils.

There’s been sizable growth in the use of synthetic oils over the years. In fact, synthetic oils are often the factory fill in many new performance and luxury cars.

Regardless of the base oil used, chemicals must be added to give motor oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Typical additives that may be added to base oil include detergents to reduce the formation of residue, defoamants to deter absorption of air, anti-wear agents, antioxidants and others.

Although additives are typically only 15 to 25 percent of the make up of motor oil, they can impact a lubricant’s performance much more than the base oil. For instance, mineral based motor oil with a very good additive package can easily outperform synthetic motor oil with a mediocre additive package.

There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil’s additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.

Advances in lubrication
Some of the biggest technological advances in lubrication are now coming through advancements in chemical additives. These breakthroughs have been developed by a handful of companies that specialize in high-performance lubricants, as opposed to major oil companies whose primary focus is refining and selling crude oil by products like gasoline and other fuels.

One high-performance lubricant company, Royal Purple, has developed lubricants that outperform both leading mineral oils and other synthetics. Their oil has been proven in numerous independent tests to dramatically reduce engine wear, increase horsepower and torque, and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Cars using their oils can also go further between oil changes, saving the owner time and money, and reducing the impact on the environment. More information about their products is available at the Web site www.royalpurple.com.

How to Choose
Mineral-based (conventional) motor oils. These are the cheapest and most widely available oils. They typically use standard additive packages that provide minimum levels of performance and protection.

Synthetic motor oils. These man-made oils are more expensive that mineral-based oils but are still widely available. Their performance advantages come predominantly from the synthetic base oil used. They have a longer service life and offer some improvements in protection. They typically use the same additive packages found in mineral-based oils.

High-performance ‘specialty’ synthetic motor oils. These motor oils are the most technologically advanced oils. Although they significantly outperform mineral based or synthetic motor oils, they are about the same price as standard synthetic motor oil. They are typically only available through auto parts stores and select oil change centers. These oils primarily differ in their use of more advanced, proprietary additive technologies.

Still confused? For a used car with little life left in it, stick with the cheap mineral-based motor oil. For a car you plan to keep for a few years and want to get a little better performance from, you should at least upgrade to synthetic motor oil. To get the most performance out of your car, truck or RV, or to protect a vehicle you really care about and want to last, upgrade to a high performance motor oil.

Winter’s Top Rules of the Road

November 26th, 2007

(ARA) – As soon as the snow begins to fall, as it has in most Northern cities across the country, drivers are faced with an entirely new set of challenges on the road. Snow and ice can be treacherous, but if you’re prepared for the dangers they present, winter driving is much less scary.

Whether you’ve already done a little slipping and sliding, or are hoping to prevent that scary occurrence altogether, it is important to make yourself aware of 10 road rules that apply in the wintertime:

1. Take steps to make sure your driveway will be safe to travel on. Before you even put the car in gear, sprinkle sand that is specially-formulated to increase traction on snow and ice on all areas you’re likely to walk on or drive over. Sand products are one of the most helpful and under-used products for winter driving, and the actual consistency of products such as Sakrete Multi-Purpose Sand was made to be poured over ice and provide immediate traction to your vehicle. You can find it at most home improvement stores and the re-sealable bag is suitable for rugged storage in variable temperatures.

2. Add ballast to your car. Products such as Sakrete’s Tube Sand adds weight and ballast to your vehicle to give you better traction, and if you need it, the sand inside also can help you out of a bind. “This is a product much like your spare tire,” says Shawn King of Sakrete, a leading brand of sand and concrete products. “A lot of people forget about it, but if something happens it immediately becomes the most important item in your trunk.”

3. Be prepared for an emergency situation. Emergency situations can arise at any time. The supplies you should keep in your trunk are a properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack, a shovel, jumper cables, tow and tire chains, two or more bags of sand and a tool kit. You should also carry a survival kit that includes a working flashlight and extra batteries, flares, matches, a compass, extra windshield cleaner, an ice scraper and snow brush, blankets, a first aid kit and non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

4. Turn on your headlights. Even in the daytime to increase your visibility to other motorists, and be sure to keep your lights and windshield clean.

5. Decrease your speed. To drive safely on roads you suspect may be icy, decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

6. Watch for black ice and other frozen patches. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.

7. Shift into lower gears. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

8. Drive defensively. If your front wheels skid, take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go, then return the transmission to “drive” or release the clutch and accelerate gently. Steer in the direction you want your wheels to go. If your rear wheels skid, take your foot off the accelerator and steer left if you are sliding left and right if you’re sliding right.

9. If you get stuck, do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way. If a light touch on the gas doesn’t ease your car out, open the trunk and take out your emergency shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. Then, put down the bag of Sakrete Tube Sand –Winter Traction Grit, kept in your trunk, and simply drive over it (The sand comes in a reinforced woven bag made specifically to be driven over). Once you’re out of your bind, don’t forget to stop and pick up the bag in case you need it again for traction.

10. If you become stranded, do not leave your car. Unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation; it would be extremely dangerous to leave your car. To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.

No one wants to drive in inclement weather, but if you have to, being familiar with these 10 tips should make you feel safer.