Safe Driving Tips for Halloween

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safe driving downtown des moines iowa

In just a few short days, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts will roam the streets after dark to trick-or-treat on Halloween night. If you’ve got to make a trip the store for more candy, or drive your car for some other reason, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get behind the wheel on a night like this.

safe driving downtown des moines iowa1. Check your brakes. If your brakes squeal or you experience a lot of vibration when slowing down, your brakes may need to be replaced. And waiting until Halloween night isn’t a good idea. If you need to drive your car when trick-or-treaters are out and about, you need to be sure you can brake quickly and safely just in case a costumed-creature runs out in front of you.

2. Refill wiper fluid. If your windshield is dirty, it’s going to be harder to see what’s in front of you, especially if you’re staring into the glare of a streetlight, oncoming car, or the glowing flashlight of a trick-or-treater. Wash your windshield and top off your wiper fluid reservoir. And if your wipers don’t clear your windshield well during rain, take care of those now before you’re on the road Halloween night.

3. Check your vehicle lights. Headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Have someone help you make sure all the lights on your vehicle are working properly. If you plan to drive at dusk or just after dark on Halloween night, properly working vehicle lights will make things safer for you and trick-or-treaters.

4. Watch for pedestrians. In many neighborhoods, there isn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic after dark. But an estimated 97 percent of all children in the United States are expected to trick-or-treat on Halloween night. You’ll want to pay particular attention to parked cars and curbs where little trick-or-treaters could be hiding. And stop at all corners and intersections to make sure it’s clear to go. With all the excitement of filling their bags with candy, kids don’t always follow the look-both-ways rule on Halloween night.

5. If you’re out-trick-or treating…If you don’t have plans to drive anywhere on Halloween night, maybe you’ll be escorting trick-or-treaters through your neighborhood. If that’s the case, make sure everyone wears reflective clothing along with their costume. Carry a flashlight. Use the sidewalk and walk in lighted areas whenever possible.

If you’ll be driving your car on Halloween night, it doesn’t have to be scary. Just make sure your car is working properly, drive cautiously, and watch out for ghosts and goblins. Happy Halloween!

Flush Your Transmission Now, Before It’s Too Late

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Bring up the topic at a dinner party, and someone is bound to have their own tale of woe, costly repairs, or even the ultimate demise of a car caused by a failing transmission. Aside from engine damage, a failed transmission is one of the more expensive repairs that can put a real dent in your pocket. So it makes sense that you do everything you can to protect your transmission from going bad in the first place.

transmission flush des moines iowa.jpgMost car manufacturers recommend getting the transmission fluid in your car flushed about once every two years, or every 30,000 miles. But that may not be soon enough if your car is already showing signs of transmission issues. You should get your transmission inspected or flushed as soon as possible if you notice any of these five warning signs of transmission problems. Doing so could protect your transmission from failing, or at least prolong its life, and save you some money.

Gear Grinding or Unexplained Noises
Over time, your transmission can get dirty, absorb grease, and even develop sludge that slows its ability to help your car cycle through changing gears. If you hear grinding sounds or unexplained noises from under the hood while driving, check your transmission fluid. It should be a brightly-colored red. Black or brown-colored transmission fluid means your transmission is dirty or is being compromised by sludge, and obviously warrants a transmission flush.

Getting Into Gear
It’s a telltale sign of transmission problems. If you find it hard to get your car with an automatic or manual transmission into gear, it’s a warning sign of transmission problems. But it could just be caused by dirt or sludge build-up in your transmission. Getting your transmission flushed at the first onset of this problem and replaced with clean transmission fluid can often improve gear shifting and prevent transmission damage.

Popping Out of Gear
If you find yourself driving down the road, only to have your car pop out of gear, your transmission may be to blame. If your transmission is too dirty, it won’t have enough power to keep your car into gear at times. And that can cause your vehicle to pop out of gear, and it undoubtedly happens at an inconvenient moment while on the road. Flushing your transmission at the first signs of this problem can power up the hydraulic pressure in your transmission to keep your car in gear.

Unexplained Surges in Power
If you notice unexplained surges in power while you’re driving, it’s often an indicator that your transmission is dirty. When dirt, grease, and sludge interfere with transmission operation, it’s hard for your transmission to provide a continuous and steady flow of power to keep your gears moving smoothly from one to the next. Notice this problem, and it’s a good time to flush the transmission before it’s too late.

Slow to Go After Getting Into Gear
You’ll notice right away if this is a problem. You put your car into gear, and for just a second or two nothing happens. You might not think anything of it at first, but it’s a warning sign of transmission trouble. The first time you noticed this is a good time to take your car in for a transmission flush.

Getting your transmission flushed every two years or every 30,000 miles is a good maintenance plan to follow. But if you noticed any of these warning signs, bring your car in as soon as possible for a transmission inspection. Simply flushing your transmission and replacing it with clean, dirt-free transmission fluid could save you a lot of money.