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Stay chill—but not too chill

Posted on October 26, 2018

Take these six steps to prepare your car for winter weather

You’re keeping your students moving right along this school year. Great job! They rely on you. They learn from you. They count on you being there.

You probably rely on your car to get there, and that means your students rely on it, too. But as the weather gets colder and winter approaches (Winter break! Woot!), your car might not be up to the task. Here’s what you can do to help ensure your ride gets you safely to those smiling faces.

  • Keep your wipers wiping. You can see a note being passed while you’re writing on the white board. You have eyes in the back of your head. Nothing beats your all-seeing eyes, right? Your windshield might. Snow and road salt builds up on your windshield, reducing visibility. Replace your windshield wipers. Seriously. They’re only good for about a year. Your wiper fluid might need tending to, as well. If your winters are heavy-hitters, get a brand with a low freezing temperature. Don’t let this winter beat your stellar vision.
  • Treat. Yo. Battery. Your car battery is similar to your life-sustaining caffeine: It revs you up so you can keep up with your students. But cold weather slows it down. Big time. Run by a mechanic or an auto parts store for a quick battery check. Checking your battery now could save you a cold morning or evening trying to turn the engine over — most likely letting out a few words you wouldn’t say in your classroom.
  • Get pumped. The changing weather means your tires will start to lose pressure. Check how much pressure your tires need, and inflate accordingly. Or, y’know, have a mechanic do it the next time you take your car in. Why does it matter? It allows for safer driving in inclement weather, helps your tires last longer and even saves you some fuel.
  • Don't freeze. Anti-freeze keeps your radiator coolant from … well, freezing. And frozen coolant is bad news. How do you know if you have the right amount? Stop by any auto parts store and pick up a tester. They can be as cheap as a few bucks. If the thought of popping your hood terrifies you as much as a surprise teacher evaluation, leave it to a mechanic.
  • Make a change for the better. This one’s simple. Change your oil. Cold weather is harsh on it, which is harsh on your engine.
  • Prepare for the worst. Worst-case scenario: You do all these things, and something bad happens. You run out of gas in a blizzard. The beat-up car that made it through high school and college finally takes its last breath of life in subzero temperatures. What now? If you stock emergency supplies in your car before the harshest part of winter hits, you’ll be in good shape until help arrives. Business Insider has a pretty solid list of items that could save your butt. (Not on their list: papers to grade until help arrives).

There are other things you should have a mechanic (or car-savvy significant other) check out, such as evaluating the belts and hoses that can take a lot of wear and tear from the weather. And let’s be honest, you probably want to leave this to them.

Take these steps. Stay chill. But not too chill. Keep being an awesome teacher.

AM-C04364 (Oct. 18)

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