Okay, so what are the chances you will only need touch up paint when something goes terribly wrong in the rain?
Irregardless, (jk) it’s rain season and it’s the average drivers’ worst nightmare to lose control of the car in wet conditions. We provide car paint touch up services but, as members of the automotive industry, we feel very strongly about empowering everyone with the skills to be safe drivers. This information WILL save lives which is exactly why you should share this post with everyone you know!
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Unless something tragic has already happened to us, most of us don’t think about what we are really doing when we get into our cars every day. So let us put it plainly…
You are operating the deadliest weapon it is legal to own in the US!
Not that we have legal expertise in this arena… or weapons knowledge of any kind for that matter, but we did consult the internet a little bit to make sure we weren’t putting our foot in our mouths before we published this. We are quite confident this statement is accurate. The closest we could find is a flame-thrower but good luck nailing anyone with that. It kinda lacks the element of surprise. The car is still the winner in our book. It’s a sneak attack every time.
All the oils that have absorbed into the road or thickened with grime during the majority of the year will be reactivated during the first rain. Oils are lighter than water and rise to the surface once liberated as their contaminants dissolve and sink, leaving nothing BUT oil and water between your tires and the road. It’s everywhere and even when you can’t see it, it’s still there.
In drag racing and off-roading this might be true but on uncontrolled, real world paved roads, it is fatally false. When you decrease pressure the tire warps reducing the size of the “contact patch” (the part of your tire physically making contact with the pavement at any given time). Less contact = less traction for braking and steering.
Most modern cars tell you your tire pressure is incorrect, with a light like one of these, on the dashboard instrument cluster.
Here is an illustration of tread contact width with correct and incorrect tire inflation pressures.
Boy have we seen some heated discussions over this one! Some people argue it is different for front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive cars and rear-wheel-drive cars. We agree with this in dry conditions as everyone has a different driving style but in the rain there is one way that works best for the average driver; the good tires belong in the rear. As you begin to hydroplane the last thing you want is your front tires catching first. Once they do it is very likely the back end will continue sliding and swing full around. If the rear tires catch first it creates “drag” in the rear and it is more likely your rear end will stay behind you where it belongs. When you stay nose-first you are more likely to be able to regain control of the car.
FALSE / TRUE
Most cars made these days have disk brakes on all four wheels. If you have drum brakes, they will be located on the rear wheels only and your front brakes will be disks. Disk brakes do not lose much stopping power when wet; drum brakes are the ones effected. If you have drum brakes just apply gentle, increasing pressure, until you feel them working efficiently, after going through a puddle and once in a while when driving to make sure they work well. You should not have to “pump” the brakes; it’s more like “riding the breaks”. If you feel the car slowing well, then it’s working. No mystery mechanics there! 🙂
NOTE: Treat the outside of all your windows AND your side mirrors.
There are many situations due to improper alignment where your tires are not contacting the ground well.
TIP: Firestone locations offer “Lifetime Alignment” service. Buy this package if you plan on having your car for more than just a few years. Pay once and all alignment checks and adjustments are free for the life of the car! As of now there is NO CAP on how often you can have them check and adjust. No matter what location you buy the package at, it is good for all other locations nation wide.
Once all your traction hardware is optimized, it’s time to test your software.
DO NOT TEST WITH CHILDREN IN THE CAR
Put the key in the ingition and turn it to the ACC position. All the lights in your dash will illuminate. Look for “ABS”.
We recommend wet conditions because you don’t have to go very fast to lock up the brakes. Remember, the point is to lose traction.
NOTE: If you are nervous then you should definitely be doing this test. You are only nervous because you don’t know what to expect form your car. You WANT to know how your car performs so you can know how to control it. You you will only slide a little bit.
It generally takes twice the distance to stop your car in the rain. The safe gap for between you and the car in front of you in dry conditions is 1 car length per 10mph you are traveling or 4 seconds travel time between the two of you.
When cruise control is active it is can interpret the resistance from water building up in front of the wheel as the car slowing down. It will may accelerate to compensate possibly pushing your car past it’s gripping speed or may even downshift to a lower gear increasing the sudden change which could initiate a hydroplane situation. Hydroplaning is when your tire cannot absorb or divert the volume of water it comes in contact with fast enough to drive through it, so, it drives over it lifting your tire off the pavement.
With all the bright light reflecting from the clouds it can be difficult to notice when your windows are fogging. Here are some conditions that contribute to foggy windows:
It’s very important to drive at your own comfort level. Being nervous greatly reduces your ability to judge situations ans maneuvers. If you know you are uncomfortable driving as fast as everyone generally drives on particular roads, avoid them. It’s better to get there late than a complete nervous wreck, or not at all.