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Nov-20-2009 03:05printcomments

Former NASCAR Crew Chief Larry McReynolds Warns That Poor Car Maintenance Could Wreck Your Wallet (VIDEO)

Larry shares simple tips to help keep vehicles running smoothly during winter months.

Former NASCAR Crew Chief Larry McReynolds
Photo and video: KEF Media

(SALEM, Ore.) - Car accidents usually occur because someone has done something wrong while driving. The mistake could be something silly, like scraping the curb or it could be something more serious, like brake failure. One of the most common causes of car accidents is poor car maintenance.

Former NASCAR Crew Chief, Larry McReynolds tells our viewers the critical things they should do to keep their vehicles up and running during the winter months.

Things like changing the oil, making sure your windshield wipers are working and keeping your tires properly inflated can sound basic, but not tending to these fundamentals can wreak havoc on your car once the mercury plummets.

Winterize Your Car

Driving in the winter means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions, hot tempers and unforeseen dangers. To help you make it safely through winter, here are some suggestions from the National Safety Council to make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared.


At any temperature -- 20° Fahrenheit below zero or 90° Fahrenheit above -- weather affects road and driving conditions and can pose serious problems. It is important to monitor forecasts on the Web, radio, TV, cable weather channel, or in the daily papers.

Your Car

Tim King interviews ormer NASCAR Crew Chief Larry McReynolds

Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:

* Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts.

* Changing and adjusting the spark plugs.

* Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.

* Inspecting the distributor.

* Checking the battery.

* Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth.

* Checking antifreeze levels and the freeze line.

Your car should have a tune-up (check the owner's manual for the recommended interval) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power.

Necessary Equipment

An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. In addition to making sure you have the tune-up, a full tank of gas, and fresh anti-freeze, you should carry the following items in your trunk:

* Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack

* Shovel

* Jumper cables

* Tow and tire chains

* Bag of salt or cat litter

* Tool kit

Essential Supplies

Be prepared with a "survival kit" that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:

* Working flashlight and extra batteries

* Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth

* Compass

* First aid kit

* Exterior windshield cleaner

* Ice scraper and snow brush

* Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container * Scissors and string/cord

* Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

In addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets.

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.

* 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.

* If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.

* To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use the woolen items and blankets to keep warm.

* Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.

* Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.


Reprinted with permission from the National Safety Council

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