‘Win­ter ser­vice – get it done’

Get­ting ve­hi­cles in­spected twice a year can give driv­ers peace of mind

The Compass - - Editorial - BY SAM MCNEISH sa­muel.mcneish@thetele­gram.com

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Boy Scouts have it fig­ured out. Their motto — “Be Pre­pared” — ap­plies to so many facets of every­day life, and one of those ar­eas is the use of mo­tor ve­hi­cles.

And when it comes to en­sur­ing the safety of you, your pas­sen­gers and those you share the road with, it is paramount that driv­ers have their ve­hi­cles ex­am­ined for de­fi­cien­cies at least twice a year, or more.

“Win­ter ser­vice — get it done,” says John Mor­ris, owner and tech­ni­cian at Mor­ris Ser­vice Sta­tion Ltd. on Fresh­wa­ter Road in St. John’s. “Old cars, new cars, it doesn’t mat­ter. They can all have is­sues. There are lots of things that can cause prob­lems. We have a lot of rust here in New­found­land. There are pot­holes that jar things loose. You should pay a few ex­tra bucks and get your car checked for these and other prob­lems to make sure you are safe.”

Mor­ris said it doesn’t mat­ter where peo­ple take their ve­hi­cle, as long as they are get­ting reg­u­lar ser­vice from a cer­ti­fied tech­ni­cian. Un­for­tu­nately, he said, most peo­ple don’t do this. In­stead they are “tires only” peo­ple in the fall and the spring.

“These are good times to have your car ser­viced while it is in for tires. You should check your oil, flu­ids, brakes, wind­shield wipers, the front end,” he said.

“You don’t know what prob­lems could have de­vel­oped since you were in last. Could be a tie rod end, brakes or other dam­age that could make driv­ing your ve­hi­cle dan­ger­ous. If you don’t have it checked, you will never know un­til it’s too late.”

Mor­ris, like most tech­ni­cians, has his own check­list of items he feels are nec­es­sary to en­sure ve­hi­cle safety.

Be­cause of the high salt con­tent in the St. John’s area, for ex­am­ple, rust is an is­sue with most ve­hi­cles, and so rust­proof­ing is a good idea. He says peo­ple should have it done sea­son­ally to ex­tend the life of the car.

Tires are an­other area he feels a lot of peo­ple over­look. He said a lot of driv­ers don’t use goodqual­ity tires on their ve­hi­cles and of­ten, dur­ing sea­sonal switchovers, those tires don’t get in­spected to en­sure they are up for the job.

“You al­ways should in­spect them be­fore they go on to en­sure they have lots of tread wear re­main­ing, that they have no dry rot and are prop­erly in­flated and in­stalled,” Mor­ris said.

“For me, stud­ded tires are pre­ferred in my mind for win­ter driv­ing. Peo­ple who live out­side of town and do lots of driv­ing should use stud­ded tires. The gov­ern­ment rec­om­mends four stud­ded tires, but if you don’t want studs, the ice ra­di­als they are mak­ing now do the same thing,” he added.

SAM MCNEISH/THE TELE­GRAM

Ed Hearn, a tech­ni­cian at Mor­ris Ser­vice Sta­tion Ltd. on Fresh­wa­ter Road in St. John’s, re­places front brakes on a ve­hi­cle in prepa­ra­tion for win­ter driv­ing.

SAM MCNEISH/THE TELE­GRAM

Pot­holes are a prob­lem for driv­ers through­out the prov­ince. This rim was the re­cent ca­su­alty of a pot­hole. Check­ing tires and rims is im­por­tant when do­ing a sea­sonal check. Even though your rim may not have split in two like this one did, un­fore­seen dam­age could make your ve­hi­cle un­safe.

SAM MCNEISH/THE TELE­GRAM

Get­ting win­ter tires mounted and op­er­a­tional is some­thing driv­ers shouldn’t wait to do, ac­cord­ing to Wayne Dinn, head tech­ni­cian at Mor­ris Ser­vice Sta­tion Ltd. in St. John’s.

SAM MCNEISH/THE TELE­GRAM

Keep­ing the wind­shield clear dur­ing win­ter driv­ing is im­por­tant. Cy Mor­ris, owner of Mor­ris Ser­vice Sta­tion Ltd. in St. John’s, checks wiper blades to en­sure they’re in good con­di­tion.

SAM MCNEISH/THE TELE­GRAM

A prop­erly charged bat­tery can make all the dif­fer­ence in the op­er­a­tion of your ve­hi­cle. John Mor­ris, owner of Mor­ris Ser­vice Sta­tion Ltd. on Fresh­wa­ter Road in St. John’s, checks this ve­hi­cle’s charge as part of a win­ter driv­ing in­spec­tion.

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