winter road trip

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip

Many people believe that summer is the best season for a road trip. But this is not necessarily true. Around Winston-Salem, NC and throughout this part of the country, a winter road trip is equally interesting. You simply need to know how to prepare for cold weather driving and tune up your car before heading out onto the open road. Below, we go through some tips for your next winter excursion.

Check the Weather

Before your winter road trip begins, you need to check the weather forecast. Never rely on how it looks outside as you pack your vehicle. Things can change drastically in just an hour or so. A temperature drop of only a few degrees can make the roads icy or bring on a snowstorm. Preparation for these types of winter weather events is important. You should also keep your eyes on the road at all times, watching out for black ice.

Plan for a Slower Pace

Particularly if you intend to drive through the mountains, you should plan for a slower pace on your winter road trip than for a summer one. You have multiple things to consider when driving in winter such as the shorter days with early sunset. Also consider that driving under extreme weather conditions in winter is a bit more tiring than even a summer rainstorm. You have the extra concern of ice forming on the roads and have to maintain more diligent watch.

Plan Around Traffic

In the summertime, rush hour traffic slows you down just like it does in winter. But on your winter road trip, rush hour traffic can mean a higher likelihood of an auto accident. This is especially true if there is a weather event like rain, snow or sleet. For this reason, try to plan your driving before or after morning and evening rush hours. Use the rush hour timeframe to take a break, eat a meal or walk around some of the sights.

Plan for a Winter Vehicle Emergency

A winter road trip emergency can be different than a summer one. If you are driving in a region with extreme conditions like below-freezing temperatures, ensure you are prepared for a vehicle breakdown. Besides having all of the tire-change gear you need, also ensure you keep your phone battery charged. You might need a blanket and several layers of clothing or heavy boots. This is particularly important if your car stops running and you have to sit to wait for help or walk on frozen ground.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

On a sunny day in spring or summer, you can wait longer between fill-ups than when you are on a winter road trip. In the wintertime, you need to be more cautious about how low you allow your fuel level to drop. Keeping the tank at least half-full at all times can mean the difference between life or death, should your vehicle break down. You will need fuel to keep the car running and the heating operating when it counts most.

Prepare Your Car for Your Winter Road Trip

Before setting off on your winter road trip, take your car to Cloverdale Auto for a winter tune-up. Our skilled mechanics can check your heater, brakes, lights, fluid levels, defroster and exhaust system. Of course we can also check your tires. If you are unsure of whether you need all-season or winter tires, we can help with making the right decision for that, too. We will also check your windshield wipers to ensure they are able to stand up against freezing rain, sleet, snow or other conditions.

Getting your vehicle serviced at Cloverdale Auto before your winter road trip also provides you with complimentary roadside assistance. This built-in, one-year policy means you are covered nationwide through a limited 24 month/24,000 mile limited parts and labor warranty. Wherever you go on your winter road trip, you have the roadside assistance you need, when you need it.

Schedule your winter road trip tune-up at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, NC today. Call us at 336-331-3448.

School Bus Preventive Maintenance May Significantly Decrease Breakdowns

School Bus Preventive Maintenance May Significantly Decrease Breakdowns

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Transportation Services guidebook to school bus preventive maintenance opens by stating one truth. That is that North Carolina’s school children deserve the safest possible transportation.

Whether you are a Winston-Salem school child’s parent or someone who works in school transportation, you surely agree. At Cloverdale Auto at 2020 Cloverdale Avenue, we do too! Some of us are parents and have children riding on those buses every morning. So what do we do to help maintain school buses, church buses, tour buses and other bus transportation? Below, we explore some of the basics of school bus preventive maintenance performed by our expert auto mechanics.

Now School Bus Preventive Maintenance Is More Important than Ever

Whether you have a school bus fleet as part of the local school system or operate a second-hand bus for your church, organization or business, maintenance is very important. This is always true. But it is more important now than ever before. Why?

Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, school buses and other buses have largely remained unused. The Covid-19 pandemic, at-home learning and group gathering restrictions have made buses less necessary. Many sat still in parking lots and garages, gathering dust inside and out. If you open the hood of many of these buses, you are likely to find cobwebs, rust and leaves, something they never had time to accumulate before.

Sitting still for so long does not mean these buses will run better this year. Instead, they are in dire need of school bus preventive maintenance to ensure they run as they should. For this maintenance, your bus needs a skilled Winston-Salem auto mechanic at Cloverdale Auto.

NC Requirements for School Bus Preventive Maintenance

Even if your school bus is not used for Winston-Salem area schools you can use the North Carolina state guidelines for school bus preventive maintenance. The DPI Transportation Services manual is handy as a guide to important aspects of routine bus maintenance. For example, if you own only one second-hand bus for your organization, group or personal use, this manual provides good perspective on the checks and services your Cloverdale Auto mechanic will perform. Of course, each vehicle is unique and can require other preventive care or repairs.

The NC checklist for school bus preventive maintenance specifies three factors involved in determining when a bus needs to go into the auto mechanic’s shop. Those are age, fuel consumption and time since the last maintenance. The state requires this service every 6,000 miles, at most.

The schools also must self-inspect their transportation fleet every month. This is a good policy for any school bus owner or operator. Get to know your bus, have it serviced on a regular schedule and perform your own safety checks each month.

The state’s required 30-day school bus inspections include checklists for all vehicle areas and operation including:

  • Inside body
  • Outside body
  • Chassis
  • Fuel system
  • Electrical system
  • Road tests

You can find the full checklist for 30-day self-inspection of a NC school bus on page 21 of the DPI transportation service manual. Use it for your church bus, tour bus or other group transportation of this type to ensure your passengers stay safe when traveling from one place to the next.

Bus Maintenance Performed by Your Auto Repair Shop

While under an expert bus mechanic‘s care at Cloverdale Auto Service, your school bus goes through many system checks and services. These vary according to the bus model, age, mileage, condition and individual needs. Service can include:

  • Mounting bolts and bolt lock pins/nuts
  • Wheel bearings
  • Engine accessory drive belts
  • Lubrication, filter and oil change
  • Road test
  • Travel angle
  • Steering gear operation
  • Load test
  • Brake checks and service
  • Acceleration
  • Rear axle and drive line
  • Transmission check
  • Tune up
  • Tire service
  • Battery check
  • Electrical system test
  • Alternator test
  • Cooling and heating test and service

Schedule Winston-Salem School Bus Maintenance Today

There are many more aspects to school bus preventive maintenance than we can list here. What your privately-owned, commercially-owned or state-owned school bus requires will differ according to each individual vehicle. Each manufacturer also provides its own recommendations for routine scheduled maintenance. But the skilled auto mechanics of Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem are experienced in school bus service and know which service your vehicle needs.

If you own a school bus and need school bus preventive maintenance, call the pros of Cloverdale Auto today at 336-331-3448.

Cloverdale Auto Service