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In an ideal world, you’ll never need an auto emergency kit, but in the event that something happens, your kit will be worth its weight in gold. Many new cars in St. Charles will come with a limited emergency kit, but it’s better to assemble your own to make sure you have everything you need. Here’s our recommendations for what to put inside to cover all bases:

Hazard Triangles – If you have to pull over to the side of the road, putting out a few reflective hazard triangles will alert other drivers to your presence and create a safer situation.

Money – It may sound strange to keep money in an emergency kit, but having a few dollars in coins and small bills could be useful in case your phone has died (see the next note) and you need to use a payphone.

Cell Phone Charger – Nothing is worse than having a breakdown and not being able to call for help. Keeping a cell phone charger or mobile power pack in your emergency kit will ensure your phone is operational.

Flashlight – If your car breaks down at night and you’re stranded without a flashlight, repairs can be impossible. Keep a working flashlight as well as a set of backup batteries to avoid that problem.

First-Aid Kit – A simple first-aid kit should include bandages, pain relief medication, and antibiotic ointment. For further protection, you can add anti-burn ointments, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and butterfly closures.

Spare Fuses – Many auto electronic problems can be fixed by just switching out a fuse. Check the wattage levels of your existing fuses and keep a backup for each.

Gloves – A pair of heavy-duty gloves are an essential part of any emergency kit and will not only help keep your hands warm, but will also provide extra grip in wet weather or when dealing with greasy parts.

Water And Food – You never know how long an emergency situation will last, so having a bottle or two of water and some dry snacks that will keep is a way to stave off hunger and thirst until help arrives.

Jumper Cables – Last, but certainly not least, a set of jumper cables will allow passing drivers to help you get your car started in the case of battery problems. Having jumper cables also means that you can help other drivers in their time of need.

In addition to assembling your own auto emergency kit, there are many auto shops and online stores that sell pre-packaged kits. These can be used as a starting point and you can add other items as needed to make sure you’re fully prepared in the case of an emergency. Hopefully, you’ll never need your emergency kit, but should problems arise, you’ll be thankful that you added one to your car.

Of course, the best way to prevent an emergency is to make sure that your vehicle is in a proper functional state. At Rx Automotive in St. Charles, we’re available to perform scheduled maintenance, general check-ups, and repair tasks for a wide variety of makes and models. Drop by our shop or give us a call.

Posted by: In: Auto Maintenance Tips 01 Mar 2016 0 comments

Spring Showers Bring Slippery Roads

Ah, spring in St. Charles – plants and flowers come back to life after the dormant winter, warmer weather means you can shed those outer layers, and everything is green. And there’s rain, lots of it. While spring herald the return to bearable temperatures, it can also present the dangerous situation of slippery roads. Knowing how to drive in the rain is especially important at this time of year to keep both yourself and your car safe from harm. Here’s a few of our tips for staying safe during the rainy season:

Slow And Steady

First and foremost, rainy weather means you need to slow down. With water on the roads, it will take longer to slow down or stop, so driving at a slower speed will help adjust for this problem. In addition, you should increase your following distance to a minimum of three seconds behind the car in front of you. It’s also a good idea to avoid following larger vehicles if at all possible. Semis and buses will generate a spray of water from the road that will reduce your visibility.

Turn On Your Lights And Wipers

It might seem like a no-brainer, but many drivers forget to turn on their headlights in rainy weather. Your own visibility may not be increased dramatically, but what this does is make it easier for other drivers on the road to see you, especially in heavy downpours. Most modern cars will have an automatic feature for this, but it never hurts to turn them on anyway. Windshield wipers should be turned on as well.

The Danger Of Skids

One of the scariest parts of driving is skidding on a wet road and losing control of your car. When this happens, the right way to respond is to turn the steering wheel towards where you want your car to go while slowly moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal, assuming your car has anti-lock brakes. If not, then it’s better to not use your brakes at all.

Avoid Puddles and Oil

When you see a puddle, it’s a much better choice to avoid it rather than driving through it. If this isn’t possible, then slow down first and go as slowly as possible. Deep water is best to be avoided as it can cause serious damage to your electronic systems, necessitating expensive repairs. Also, be aware that intersections are a prime place for oil and rain to mix, creating a slippery situation. Most dangerous when it first starts raining, you should approach all intersections with more caution than normal.

Tires And Windshield Wipers

If you haven’t used your windshield wipers in a while, it may be time to have them replaced. Fortunately, this is a cheap and quick repair that makes a huge difference in being able to drive safely in the rain. In the same vein, tires with bad tread are poor performers in the rain, so if you’re thinking about changing them out, now would be a good time.

To make sure your car is ready for the spring showers in St. Charles, stop by Rx Automotive and we’ll take a look. In addition to replacing your windshield wipers and tires, we can also test your brakes and other mechanical systems. Call us today for your car’s spring check-up.