Tag Archives: winter

5 Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

holiday road trip safety
An estimated 99 million Americans travel during the holidays with over 38 million of those traveling by car. The traffic alone can cause some serious stress, not to mention winter storms, construction, wildlife, and distractions from inside the car. With all these risks, it’s no surprise that a 2 hour car trip could end up taking 5 hours.

 

Before you leave for your holiday road-trip, consider these tips given by experts to keep you and those you love safe on the roads: 

 

Car Emergency Kit

Most auto supply stores will have an “all-in-one” car emergency kit that include the essentials like jumper cables, a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight, etc. The Department of Transportation suggests you include all of the items listed below. If you already have all the items needed, just buy a plastic box to keep them nice and tidy in your trunk.
  • Roadside flares
  • A first-aid kit
  • Work gloves or latex gloves
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Jumper cables
  • One gallon of antifreeze
  • Brake fluid
  • Extra fuses
  • A blanket
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries
  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • Vise grips
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A pair of pliers
  • A tire inflator
  • A tire pressure gauge
  • Some rags and a funnel
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A roll of paper towels
  • A spray bottle with washer fluid
  • An ice scraper
  • Triangle reflectors and flares.
  • A pocketknife

 

Portable Backup Battery

Ipads and smartphones are not only for entertainment value when taking a road tip. Having a fully charged phone is crucial while on the road, especially if you are in an accident or stranded. A portable backup battery can be charged at home and taken with you on the road. Another benefit to having one of these is that you won’t have to share one cigaret charger with the rest of the family.

 

Water and Snacks

You never know when traffic will come to a standstill or a flat tire leaves you on the side of the road for hours. It’s always smart to have a few bottles of water and some granola bars, fruit, nuts, and other snacks on hand just in case. Even if you don’t need the supplies yourself, you might run across someone else in need.

 

Kitty Litter

In the case that your car gets stuck in snow, ice, or even mud, laying kitty litter in front of the tires can give you enough traction to get moving again. Have a bag or two handy in the trunk if you plan to be driving through snow or ice.

 

Roadside Assistance

Last but not least, make sure to have your AAA or roadside assistance card handy, along with your drivers license. Jumper cables and kitty litter isn’t always enough to get you out of a bind while on a road tip. It’s also a good idea to make sure your proof of  insurance card is updated and in your glove department.

 

Save Travels!

Don’t let the stress of holiday traveling keep you from taking a road trip to see family or a new part of the country. Gathering just a few supplies can give you peace of mind when on the road. Safe travels!

Fall Maintenance Checklist for Your Car

Fall is here and the weather is changing in San Antonio. It’s a great time to prep your car for the coming temperature drops and changing road conditions. Keeping your vehicle maintained now is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid costly emergencies later.

Here is a handy fall vehicle maintenance checklist to get you started:

Get an Oil Change

Motor oil is essential to your vehicle’s maintenance. It keeps metal surfaces from grinding together, reduces heat from friction, and many other functions. It’s recommended to get an oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on your car and the type of driving you do. Check the owners manual to find out the optimal mileage for an oil change your particular vehicle.

Check the Battery

Take a good look at the battery connections and make sure they are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. If a connection becomes lose or there is corrosion this will affect the charging of the alternator.

Test the Heater, Defrosters, Wiper Blades

Before the temperatures drop, take time to test the heater, defrosters, and check the air filter. Although it varies per vehicle, it’s recommended to change your air filter every 30,000-45,000 miles. Make sure your wiper blades are not torn or cracked and that the wiper fluid is full. Wiper blades are recommended to be replaced every six months.

Inspect Tires

You’ll want to check the tire pressure as well as the tread depth on your tires. Check the owners manual for the proper tire pressure and be careful not to over or under inflate the tires. As temperatures drop, the air pressure changes in your tires so it’s smart to check them weekly. Also, look for uneven wear, bulges, and bald spots. An easy way to check tire tread is to insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Check Breaks

This something you might want to have a mechanic look at. Have them check the brake linings, rotors, and drums to be sure they are in tip-top shape.

Check the Radiator Fluid

Radiator Fluid, or coolant, keeps the engine cool in the hotter months and also transfers heat to the inside of the car during the cooler months. Coolant should be changed every 2-5 years depending on the type of coolant used, and a full radiator flush is recommended once a year. You’ll want to check the hoses to make sure there are no rips or tears where leaking could be a problem.

Evaluate Belts and Hoses

Take a look at all the belts and hoses to see if there is any evidence of cracking, fraying, or leaking. Rips or leaks could cause major issues so if you see any signs of that take your car to a mechanic.

Test Headlights and Taillights

It’s hard to tell if one of your headlights or taillights are out. Take the time to make sure they are all bright and working otherwise you could have an accident or get a hefty ticket.

Take Preventative Measures Now

Why not take a little time to perform a few preventative measures to make sure your car is healthy and ready for the winter? Whether you perform the checks yourself or you take your vehicle to a mechanic, just a few checks now can save you from a costly emergency later.

Another great way to prepare for the harsh winter months is to make sure your auto insurance coverage is updated and specialized to your needs and location. Contact us if you have questions about your current plan or want a complimentary quote.

7 Fall Home Maintenance Tips to Make Your Home Winter-Ready!

happy-fall-yall-2

Today is the first day of Fall, which means cooler weather is on its way.  As a homeowner, it’s time to consider how to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. One of the best ways to save money is to take preventative measures by making sure your home is in tip top shape. Maintaining your home lowers the risk of damages that lead to costly repairs and insurance claims that can raise your homeowners insurance rates.

Here are 7 fall home maintenance tips to make sure your home is winter-ready!

1. Check Roof

Make sure that your roof is solid and ready to roll for the cooler months. Any rips, tears, missing shingles, or cracks can not only allow water into your home, but also allows heat to escape, causing a jump in your energy bills.

2. Clean Gutter

If your gutters are cramped full of leaves, water has no place to escape and can puddle on your roof or drip down the exterior walls of your home. As you can imagine, this can be disastrous to your home. You might have to clean your gutters a few times this fall depending on how many trees you have.

3. Check Windows & Doors

Make sure your windows and doors are up-to-date, installed and sealed properly, and made out of quality materials. You might lose major bucks if they aren’t top notch because of heat leaking out and water leaking in.

4. Check Heating System

Getting an A/C inspection is always a good idea. It can be extremely frustrating when your heat goes out unexpectedly during the cold winter months. Especially when it could have been avoided by a few simple checks.

5. Clean Fireplace, Furnace, & Chimney

Most San Antonio homes don’t have a furnace, but in the case that you do, get it inspected. Also make sure to clean the fireplace and chimney so that soot and smoke can escape properly when it’s in use.

6. Inspect Pipes

Now to the water system. If you’ve ever experienced a burst pipe during a freeze, you know how much of a hassle and expense it can be. Inspect your pipes, make sure there aren’t any leaks or weak spots, and wrap any exposed pipes.

7. Winterize Sprinkler System, Garden Hoses, Outdoor Faucets, Sump Pump, etc.

Any outdoor water lines that still have water in them when temps start to drop, are at risk for freezing and bursting. Make sure to inspect, drain, and turn off the water for each of these water lines before and during a freeze. You might want to hire a professional to winterize your sprinkler system if you’re not confident in doing it yourself.

While winter snow and freezes aren’t a huge scare to most San Antonio home owners, we do get occasional freezes that can cause major harm to your home. Don’t get stuck submitting insurance claims and paying for repairs that could have been avoided by taking preventative measures this fall.

Another great way to get prepared for the winter months is to take a second look at your homeowners insurance policy. Revisiting your coverage each year with your insurance agent will ensure  you are taking advantage of additional savings and have the best coverage possible for your needs. Contact JR Carnahan if you have questions, want to look over your current policy, or are interested in getting a quote for Homeowners Insurance.