Is your car ready for the rain?

Rainy day on Simi Valley FreewayIt’s a good time to take a few minutes to inspect your car when the rain arrives.  Not surprising to many in Southern California is the number of accidents on our freeways and streets spikes significantly when it rains.  Most accidents could have been avoided by leaving a little extra stopping room and paying closer attention to your surrounding.  However, many others can be avoided simply by maintaining your car properly.

Here are some areas to pay attention to before the rain arrives:

  • Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid. Keeping a clear view of your surrounding is vitally important during rain. The dirt and grime from the cars make your windshield dirty.  If your wipers are in need of replacement, turning them on will leave streaks and often reduce rather than improve your view of the road.  Having plenty of fresh washer fluid helps when the dirty road mist covers your windshield.  It is also a good idea to inspect these areas BEFORE you need them.
  • ABS Braking System. The objective of your Anti-Lock Braking System is to prevent the car from skidding when the brakes are applied heavily.  When the brakes lock up, the tires skid.  On a rainy street, this can spell disaster because tires don’t stop your car as well as the ABS system.  You must have your braking system inspected periodically to ensure it is working properly.  One area of concern, especially in the newer braking systems, is the brake fluid quality. When brake fluid breaks down, it can begin to damage components in the brake system.  If you haven’t had your brake system in a while, now would be a good time.
  • Tires. Most of us know how important good traction is to emergency situations.  The rain makes it much more important to pay attention to your tire tread. And something more… Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  This helps you keep the maximum amount of tread on the road and the correct amount of control.
  • Shocks and Struts. Your shocks and struts also play an important role in your car’s ability to avoid accidents.  Poor shocks or struts can make your car mushy and less responsive in turns.  When you brake and turn sharply, the car may sway too much.  It’s important to change your shocks and struts periodically.  These are drive-ability and safety components that are very important.

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