Tip of the Week

You’ve done all the right things to prepare your vehicle for winter. Now get its house ready.

If you are one of the lucky ones with a garage to store your vehicle you are already way ahead of the game. The roof will keep snow and ice off the car this winter and you won’t have to clear it every morning when it’s time to head out. That covered parking spot is valuable and with just a little forethought can do a lot to keep you and your vehicle happy this winter.

Stop The Mice

Mice like cars. They like to live in them, nest in them, and they even seem to like munching on the wires. This past spring we restarted a snowbird’s car stored outside and found that the mice had eaten just the windshield washer line. Recent lawsuits have been claiming that bioplastics — soy-based, in other words — have been attracting rodents to chew through wires.

In any case, if you have a garage, you are in a good position to minimize the problems from mice and other critters.

There is no 100-percent solution for mice damage prevention, but if you have a garage, walk the circumference looking for any hole to plug. Use caulking or that foamy spray. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing, including some kind of hood. We’ve had that stuff in our hair and it is no picnic. You can buy a cheap Tyvek coverall suit with a hood at any hardware store.

Once you have sealed up as many ways in and out as possible it’s time to get serious. Depending upon your tolerance for rodent violence there are three steps you can take. The first is to make it so smelly the mice won’t want to be in your garage. The mouse repellant in the image above works well. Dryer sheets are supposed to work, but they cost more than actual rodent repellent, and we’ve seen mice actually chew those up for bedding.

The next step is a poison, now usually sold in safety trays to keep it away from pets and children. The final step is the old-fashioned mousetrap. Look into your soul and make a decision.

Stock Up

If we know one thing about winter, freezing rain will eventually fall from the sky. When that happens the windshield washer fluid is going to sell out in your town and everyone will be driving around half blind. Except you! Because you read this story and bought a case of that stuff, you’re going to have enough to get you to the 4th of July.

The same goes for sand and ice melt. There is no expiration date on sand, and ice melt unopened will stay usable for a year or more. Stock up. Why be hauling that stuff back to the car in the slush?

Clean It Up

We also like to give the garage a decent cleaning, including a sweep, vac, and maybe get the gutters cleaned.

It’s a good opportunity to put away things like ladders, bicycles and lawn care items you won’t need again until you can see the grass. You don’t want that stuff falling on your car when you pull it inside during the dark, gloomy winter months.

The white stuff is sneaky. It will be here soon and then all these little projects get a bit more difficult, so let’s get a move on, shall we?

— John Goreham

Auto news

Volvo has reached a three-year deal with Uber set to supply 24,000 vehicles for a self-driving taxi fleet.

The deal is an extension of an existing 2-year partnership that has created Volvo XC90 crossovers fitted with autonomous driving hardware from Volvo and software from Uber. These autonomous XC90s have been undergoing on-road testing by giving rides to passengers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Phoenix, Arizona.

Did you know

The Center for Auto Safety is asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate and issue a recall of 150,000 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans. The groups says the vehicles are an “unreasonable risk to the public” due to almost 100 reports of the vans stalling at various speeds or while idling causing a loss of control. Chrysler said none of its service technicians have been able to determine a cause or replicate the stalling reported by consumers. So far no fatalities or serious injuries have been resulted from the reported problem.