Winter weather can be rough on vehicles, especially church buses and vans that sit unused for long periods of time. To prevent breakdowns, be sure to service all vehicles on a regular basis through the cold weather season. Follow this advice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Have your mechanic inspect the entire vehicle for leaks, bad hoses, or any other parts needing repair. Pay particular attention to the tires, battery, and cooling system.
Underinflated tires can lead to diminished handling and rollover crashes. To improve handling (and gas mileage), check each tire monthly and set it to the vehicle manufacturer's suggested PSI (pounds per square inch) of air pressure. You’ll find the correct PSI listed in your owner's manual and on a label inside the driver's door. Don’t forget to check the spare tire, too. In addition:
When the temperature drops, so does battery power. Plus, it takes more power to start your vehicle in cold weather than in warm. Find out if your battery is up to the challenges of winter:
When coolant freezes, it expands. Such expansion can potentially damage your vehicle's engine block beyond repair. Don't let this happen to your vehicle this winter!
Safe winter driving depends on achieving and maintaining the best visibility possible. Check your windshield wiper blades and defroster system periodically.
You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid in a single snowstorm, so be prepared for whatever comes your way.
Winter can be one of the roughest seasons for church vehicles, but with a little extra maintenance you can keep them in top running condition. Make sure to prepare your drivers, too.
Adapted from “Checklist & Tips for Safe Winter Driving,” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, www.nhtsa.gov.
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