Last Minute Winter Storm Purchases – Be Prepared
Most people wait until last minute, usually during a winter storm, to replace wiper blades, bulbs such as headlights, tail lights, turn signals, license plate, and back up (reverse) lights, batteries and other things.
Working in the auto parts business, the store would pretty much get cleaned out of wiper blades. We would also have to install them as they are part of a free services the store offers.
There are some wiper blades that have to be ordered for some cars as the stores do not carry them in stock. The stores only have so much room to display and have a small area for back stock. Once those wipers are sold out, there aren’t anymore until the regular delivery arrives.
Headlights, tail lights, turn signal and other bulbs the store would sell and then replace as a free service.
Although there are some vehicles that the employees are unable to change the bulb on because of the location of a power/relay/fuse box being where it was.
We would check batteries and alternators while on the car in running mode – if it wasn’t raining, sleeting or snowing because of where the heat exhaust was on the machine (uncovered on the top). We would have to cover it up if a customer was insistent.
Engine drive belts or the serpentine belt should also be checked for wear and fraying. Not all cars have just one belt, some vehicles may have two.
The store did not carry batteries for certain vehicles and we would have to send folks to other places to get the battery, if we could find them in another store or a local car dealer. Folks do not like to go to the dealer as it costs a lot of money to repair something there.
We do installations only if we can get to the battery (some cars its under a seat inside, in the trunk, under a coolant or washer reservoir bottle, ect.) store employees are not allowed to dismantle a car to repair it in the parking lot as we did not have garage facilities.
There are cars such as some Toyotas that have a brass battery connector. Store did not carry them as they are dealer items only. I had one fellow insist that I was going to replace his battery and the brass connector on the car. I had to go into the store find a paperclip and sort of wire his connector together. I brought him into the store, called the service dept at the dealer and let the dealer tell him that they could only do it there. He was seriously put out about that.
There were times when someone needed a new alternator on the car. We can sell you the part, but employees are not allowed to fix a vehicle on premise. Most of us are not mechanics although some of the employee are ASE Certified through the company.
At times, someone would come in with a wiper arm that needed replacing. We can sell you the part, but we cannot replace the part for you.
The store I worked in didn’t sell tires. We had a store that did, but it was about an hour on a good day to get to because they had the garage facility. There are a lot of garages and tire places available in the local area to get that done, but sometimes, they also had to order the tires as they don’t carry all of them either.
Here are some tips to help keep you from ending up the “Last Minute” list…
1 – Buy wiper blades in October and April. In the winter time, the blades only last so long (usually about 6 months or so) especially if there are many storms and icing conditions. Buy and keep a spare set of wipers in the trunk of your vehicle. Mark them left and right with a marker if they are different sizes. When one goes bad, you can just change it or get someone to help you change it out.
2 – If a bulb on your vehicle goes out such as a headlight bulb, change it right away. Always buy them in pairs, as the minute you change one, shortly the other one decides to go bad.
3 – Get the battery and alternator checked BEFORE the cold weather settles in. The drive belts or serpentine belt as well. If it breaks you won’t go anywhere as you will no longer have a way to power the engine. You don’t want to stuck in a snowstorm or very cold weather without any power because you could freeze to death!
4 – Tires. Make sure you change out the tires before the weather starts to get really cold. If the place doesn’t have them in stock, order them. October is a really good month to get good deals on tires. Some tire or garages may offer some kind of a free service with the purchase. Make sure to read the SMALL PRINT!
5 – Always make sure your oil, and other fluids are topped off, that you carry some extra in case you need it, and always carry extra washer fluid. Make sure it’s good in really, really cold weather like the below -35 F stuff, otherwise it could freeze up.
6 – Get an oil change. The oil gets heavy and dirty and needs to be changed regularly. It can make for a hard start some mornings otherwise.
7 – I keep a can of deicing fluid in the house. If it was icy the day before,
I can use it on the glass to remove it from the glass and the wiper blades. If you forgot to shut off your wipers and turn the car on before deicing – you could rip the blade off or worse. Always shut off your wiper blades before turning off the car.
1 – In bad weather, take your time driving, because you can lose control of your vehicle easily. If you have to, drop the drive lever into one gear lower as it will help keep the car moving at a slower speed.
2 – Stay off the technology! You need to keep your eyes on the road at all times. It only takes one second to lose control or not see something you should have and it could cost you or the passengers in your vehicle, their lives.
3 – 4 wheel drive vehicles – just because it has 4 wheel drive and/or traction control does not mean you can still drive like an idiot on snow and ice and survive. That is such an old wives tale… so get over it before it kills you.
I hope this article has helped you today. Please leave a comment or question below as I check back regularly. Thanks for your visit!