Be Prepared for Winter!

Winter has arrived. Keep the following tips in mind to make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for winter emergencies.

  • Preventive maintenance prior to the winter season is the best way to ensure safe travel. Regularly check fluid levels such as power steering, brake, windshield washer and oil.
  • Make sure the antifreeze is strong enough to prevent freezing of the engine and fresh enough to prevent rust.
  • In cold weather, you may also want to change the windshield washer fluid to one containing an antifreeze agent.

While proper maintenance is key, knowing how to drive in adverse conditions can also keep you safe. The Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide offers the following tips for driving in different weather conditions.

Wet & slippery roads:

  • Turn on the wipers as soon as the windshield becomes wet.
  • Turn on the low-beam headlights; this helps others see you.
  • Drive 5 to 10 mph slower than normal and increase your following distance to 5 or 6 seconds.
  • Be more cautious, and slow down on curves and when approaching intersections.
  • Turn the defroster on to keep windows from fogging over.
  • If you must make adjustments while driving, make sure the road ahead is clear before looking down at the dashboard – and look away for only a second or two.

Snow

  • Make sure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice before driving. Driving can cause snow/ice to slide and block your view, or fly off and strike other vehicles.
  • When starting to drive in snow, keep the wheels straight ahead and accelerate gently to avoid spinning the tires.
  • Decrease your speed to make up for a loss of traction. Accelerate and decelerate gently, and be extra careful when braking.
  • Stopping distances can be 10 times greater in ice and snow. Begin the slowing-down process long before a stop. Brake only when traveling in a straight line.
  • Look ahead for dangerous spots, such as shaded areas and bridge surfaces that may be icy when the rest of the road is clear.

Lastly, check out the Auto Emergency Prepardness Kit Checklist from the Michigan State Police and see what you should have in your vehicle in case you are stranded.

Special thank you to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson for her content.

Winter Storage Advice

We know many of you have already put away vehicles, motorcycles and boats for the winter.  We wanted to pass along this good information as you continue to prepare for winter storage.

When Andrew Singer brought home his newest collectible car in the spring of 2017, it failed the sniff test. Sugar, the Singer family’s terrier, threw her paws over the left front fender of the 2006 Lotus Elise, and the yellow roadster advanced no further into the garage. Sugar smelled the spice of mice.

During the winter, as the result of the previous owner’s careless winter storage, the little rodents built a nest in the dashboard behind the speedometer. “They hadn’t damaged anything—just were hanging out,” Singer said. Over a long winter, rodents can wreak more automotive misery per ounce than any car deserves, chewing up wiring, upholstery, and fabric. A popular mouse-fighting measure is to put dryer sheets in the passenger compartment. But some experts dispute the effectiveness, saying the smell may only offer an initial defense before mice get used to it. Mousetraps and mothballs on the garage floor may prove little more effective.

Singer has found an altogether foolproof defense for his collection. “The cat patrols the garage after dinner,” he said. Rodent protection is just one consideration for those who decommission their vintage and collectible cars during the winter. Here are a few other tips for protecting that special car:

Wash & Wax
Wash and wax the body and give the interior a once-over to remove specks, globs, and splats that might have a corrosive effect.

Fuel Tank

To prevent varnish from forming, fill the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer. Doing this will thwart contaminants. One source recommends running the engine a few minutes to circulate stabilized gas through the fuel system.

Oil Change

Change the oil and filter, which are likely to have corrosion-causing agents. Top off the levels of other fluids. Changing engine coolant, transmission fluid, and differential oil is optional and proves just how meticulous one can be.

Storage

A nice, dry garage is ideal for winter storage. Even if the car is garaged, a vapor barrier on the floor prevents condensation buildup on the underbody and suspension. Sheet plastic or a tarp will do the job.

Tires

“If your car will be in storage for more than 30 days, consider taking the wheels off and placing the car on jack stands at all four corners,” says Edmunds.com. Where winter isn’t too long, adding extra air to the tires will serve to prevent flat spots.

Parking Brake

Leave a car with automatic transmission in “Park.” Leave a car with a manual transmission in neutral and chock the wheels. Either way, do not set the parking brake, which would result in brake pads “freezing” against the drums or rotors because of corrosion.

Battery

Remove the battery and put it on a tender until spring.

Car Cover

Car covers are worth the expense. Our favorite purveyor of upmarket car-care items describes their triple-layer cover in technical terms that made us think we’d found NASA’s website by mistake. The cover should be breathable and have a soft inner layer to protect the paint.

There are more elaborate schemes for preserving a special car in the winter. Some owners are so fastidious, they might advocate having it shrink-wrapped and sent to the International Space Station. But the list we present here is just right for the average person’s Saturday afternoon and will keep 99.5 percent of the problems at bay—especially if, as our friend Andrew Singer attests, the dog and cat are living up to their end of the bargain.

Special thanks to Hagerty for their content.

Thank you for your business!

Olivier-VanDyk Insurance

A Quick Guide to Using our Brand-New App

Personal Lines Customers: We are excited to announce a new service to better support your needs with the Olivier-VanDyk Insurance App!

Our user-friendly app contains several features, including quick and easy ways to:

  • Obtain an auto insurance card
  • Review your policy information
  • Submit a change/start an auto claim
  • Communicate with your agent

 

App Store

 

 

You can find the mobile insured app by searching for “Olivier-VanDyk” in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, and downloading onto your mobile device (phone or tablet).

 

Continue reading “A Quick Guide to Using our Brand-New App”

February: “Insure Your Love” Month

Valentine’s Day is celebrated by 62% of adults in America – but how many of those people know that February is also “Insure Your Love” month?! “Alright Dana, way to go, take a fun holiday and bring life insurance into the conversation.” Sorry, just doing my job…

In the insurance business one of our main responsibilities is to protect things – assets like buildings, homes, cars, boats, and most importantly, people.  The first four items can all be replaced with time and money, but replacing you is impossible.  The only thing we can do is protect your future income so your loved ones do not suffer.

insure your love stats

It’s important to ask yourself, “Are my loved ones protected? What would happen if one of the income earners were to die unexpectedly?”

Continue reading “February: “Insure Your Love” Month”