By: Corinthia Webster
Winter can be harsh on our cars – but don’t worry Oilers, UF Campus Security is here to help
With the winter months upon UF’s campus, keeping their cars safe and running one may be plaguing student’s mind. The weather in Findlay has been icy with frigid temperatures, and although there isn’t much snow on the ground, the winter always brings dead batteries and other car issues. With students being far from their homes or even commuters who need to drive to classes every day, the last thing they want to find out is that their car doesn’t work. Captain of Campus Police and Safety/Security Steven Baum shared the best ways to keep your car safe this winter along with how they
can help if something does happen to go wrong.
The most common calls the station gets are jumpstarts for dead batteries or unlocking vehicles. However, they offer more than that. The station will pump up and change tires or “just about anything you need help with we will help you with,” Captain Baum said. When the weather gets colder, the security office tends to see more calls regarding student’s cars then they would when the weather is warm.
When cold weather hits, it normally takes weak car batteries with them. Baum said cold weather make cars start a little bit harder and that drains the battery faster. If a battery were to die, be sure to contact the security office and they will help.
However, batteries aren’t the only thing the cold and ice affects. Windshield wipers tend to freeze to the window. Peoples first response is normally to turn on the wipers to clear the ice. If the blades are frozen, it can rip the blade or even crack the wipers arm. To unfreeze them, Baum recommends either scraping windshields or letting the defroster melt them off on its own. Students should make sure that the ice melts before driving. If a car crash were to occur, students may use the Code Blue phones located on campus. However, Code Blue phones are for emergency situations only.
Baum added that “as it gets colder the air pressure in your tires will to begin to drop.” Because of this, students should look at their tires to see if any of them look deflated or flat. If a student is not sure if their tire pressure is low, reach out to campus security to help.
Students should also check their antifreeze, or engine coolant levels. Baum recommends students to go to an auto parts store because “It’s hard to check on your own” he says. He added that these stores have a reader that can test the levels and strength of the antifreeze easily. He also mentioned that students should really have it checked if they had their car worked on recently because, “Sometimes when they [students] get their cars worked on in the summer, someone will have to drain the antifreeze out. And some of them will replace them with just water.”
Students should also never let their cars fuel levels to drop below a quarter of a tank in the winter. Baum explains that if a car’s fuel is below a quarter of a tank, more condensation can form inside the tank that creates water droplets. These droplets can freeze and plug up a fuel filter. He added that if you get stranded, “you have at least a quarter of a tank to keep you warm.”
Baum recommends keeping a “rescue kit” that contains essentials like blankets, gloves, flashlights, water, and snacks if a car were to be stranded. “You never know when your car is gonna fail. It’s all mechanical and can fail at any time,” he said.
Finally, Baum explained that having good tires with tread is an essential thing need for winter. Baum explained that one of the biggest causes of car crashes in the winter has to do with tires and tire tread. Finally, Baum explained that having good tires with tread is an essential thing need for winter. “The biggest cause of crashes in snow is poor tire tread,” Baum explained.
“When your tires are bald or when the air pressure in them isn’t what it should be, your tires aren’t meeting the road as they were designed to do. This can put you at risk for accidents,” says Michael Steinger from Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Steinger also ranked inadequate tires the third leading cause of car accidents in the winter.
If students are ever curious and want to learn more about simple car maintenance, contact Captain Baum in the security office next to Lovett Hall. The best way to get in contact with the office would be calling their number at (419) 434-4799.