Last year 2020 was concluded to be the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record. Early in 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2021 outlook calling for another active season. In fact they said it has the “potential to overperform for the sixth year in a row.”
The devastating 2020 season, which featured 30 named storms, tied the record set in 2005 with seven major hurricanes. Of those 30, 11 tropical storms and hurricanes made landfall in the United States.
At Cassels Garage, the superior company providing auto repair service in Melbourne, FL, we have conducted research to compile a list of ways to prepare your vehicle for these explosive storms. For many people, hurricane emergency preparedness plans are focused on our homes and businesses, as it should be. Yet, our vehicles are also vulnerable and critical to our livelihood and lifestyles. Extensive, preventable damage to the mechanics of your car or truck can affect your ability to get to work, take the children to the sitter, keep doctor’s appointments, and check in on loved ones.
There are many maintenance steps you can complete yourself or with the help of a locally owned auto repair shop to mitigate storm related destruction in advance to keep your car running and avoiding costly repairs. “Besides ensuring mechanical safety and stocking up on necessary supplies, you can also position your car to minimize damage, and learn how to maximize your insurance policy,” according to WikiHow.
Let’s Get Started so We Can Keep Your Car Starting
Check the Parts of Your Car That Require Regular Maintenance
Replace parts that look worn-down or torn, especially if it has been a while since you last had your car in maintenance. Most important on the checklist are:
- Belts, hoses, and valves
- Tires and suspension
- Air condition and exhaust
Replenish All Fluids
Essentials include oil, transmission, brake, battery, power steering, radiator coolant, and windshield wiper fluids.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Wiper blades are critical to visibility and can be damaged by excessive sun exposure or debris on the windshield. If, unfortunately, you are driving in torrential rain, your wipers need to be capable of clearing large amounts of water so that you are not misperceiving the depths of moving water on the roadways. Never drive through puddles or moving water if you cannot accurately assess the depth.
Fill up Your Tires to Their Optimal Capacity
Often these numbers can be found on the tire itself, in your car’s manual, and / or inside the doorjamb. WikiHow reminds, “Be aware that the number on the side of the tire may be the maximum pressure allotted, so check the inside of the doorjamb for more specific tire inflation information. Be sure to check your spare tire as well and brush up on how to change a tire.”
Contact Your Car Insurance Company in Advance About Your Hurricane Coverage
Determine what is covered, next steps if your vehicle is harmed, and how you will file a claim. As always with insurance, whether home or vehicle, have both before and after pictures to support your claim. Chances are if you have damage, many others will too. Start the process as soon as possible after ensuring your own physical safety.
Fill Your Gas Tank and Extra Gas Cans, but Don’t Be Part of Chaotic Hoarding
It is true that pre- and post-storm fuel supplies can be affected as watches and warnings are posted. Power outages during and after the storm can impact incoming gas tankers, so it is a good idea to fill up before the storm to avoid long lines, shortages, or electricity issues. However, taking far more than what you need to effectively power your vehicle and perhaps your generator is not helpful to anyone – customers nor suppliers — in the face of a storm and the aftermath.
Remove Unnecessary External Accessories
WikiHow says that if you use extra antennae, a bike rack, or other temporary items on the outside of your car, they can quickly become deadly projectiles in the event of high-speed winds.
Have an Emergency Kit for Your Vehicle
Suggested items include: an automotive toolkit, a pocketknife, extra fuses, road flares, emergency tire sealant, extra quarts of motor oil, power steering fluid and antifreeze, sandpaper, electrical and duct tape, a tire jack, jumper cables, a flashlight, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, pen and paper, a blanket, a can opener, a first aid kit, and extra reserves of water and food.
As the Storm Is Nearing Landfall, Park on High Ground, in Your Garage or Cover Your Car
Avoid tall trees, utility lines, street lamps and street lights, road signs, and enable your emergency break. Secure sandbags if you are parking in the garage or on a slope and cover your car with a water-resistant or padded tarp to prevent water intrusion and projectiles.
Safeguard Your Car Now for a Hurricane Rather Than Being Sorry Later
If you take the precautions to prepare your vehicle now, you may drastically reduce the chances of heavy service repair costs later. There is a lot to do to prepare your home and business for hurricanes, let Cassels Garage of Melbourne, FL take car repair service and maintenance off your hands with hassle free and affordable service before and after the storm.
Sources: WikiHow, Consumer Reports, DMV.org, www.cars.com, www.itstillruns.com, US Occupational Health and Safety Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and www.roadandtravel.com.