2017 has proven to have had quite a bit of wet weather. Parts of the U.S. have received record rainfall and social media feeds have been inundated with photos of flooded streets. If you haven’t prepped your car for rainy days, the following five steps will help you drive with more confidence in the rain:
Check your tires
Storm brewing? The first thing you should check are your vehicle’s tires. Specifically, the tread or the grooves in the rubber. Minimal tread depth should be 2/32-inch, which can be measured by inserting a penny head-first into the trough of the groove. If all of Honest Abe’s head and hair are visible, it’s time to swap out the tire. Make sure each of the four tires is properly inflated as well. Bonus tip: If shopping for a new tire, consider its UTQG rating. The second rating, traction, grades how well a tire stops in wet conditions, with AA being the best and C being the worst.
Double check your alignment
A car with poor alignment can affect your vehicle’s tire life, acceleration, fuel economy, and braking ability both in and out of the rain. Vehicles all accelerate, turn and brake from where the tire grips the surface of the road, i.e., the contact patch. Having a car with proper alignment provides contact patch, ideal for driving on rain-soaked pavement.
Make sure your lights are bright
As a good driving practice, if you’ve turned on your windshield wipers due to moisture, you should also turn on your headlights. In fact, this is required by law in some states. As such, make sure your headlight bulbs are in good working order, replacing any spent bulbs. While you’re at it, check your car’s brake lights, taillights and turn signals. Bonus tip: Damaged, hazy headlights reducing its light output? Consider purchasing a DIY headlight restoration kit or having them restored professionally.
Use windshield rain repellant
There are a few options on the market, but the repellants all work like this: a liquid solution is applied to a vehicle’s windshield or window to create a hydrophobic coating, fancy talk for water repellant. This coating causes rain drops or any other liquid that comes in contact with the treated surface to bead, helping improve outward vision. Thank you, chemistry.
Replace old windshield wipers
As basic as it might sound, how many times have you been in a car where the windshield wipers have been so worn or cracked, it smeared more than wiped the water from the glass? Wiper blades have a lifespan between six months to three years, depending on use and climate, which drivers may tend to neglect. Bonus tip: The next time you pull into a Shell service station to fill up your tank, activate your windshield wiper fluid. If your wipers aren’t properly removing the liquid, use the gas station’s squeegee to clean up the windshield. It is time to buy a replacement set of wipers.