Warm or cold, cars require care when traveling

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published March 2, 2015

While millions of Michiganders shiver through the winter, other people have temporarily fled for warmer climates down south.

But auto experts say those who choose to travel to more affable temperatures by car should pay attention to the challenges that both colder and warmer weather may bring to the road and to the vehicle.

According to AAA Michigan Public Affairs Director Susan Hiltz, Michigan has quite a few “snowbirds” who dwell in the southern states during the winter months.

To make the destination safely, Hiltz recommended playing it safe by getting the car checked out by a certified mechanic before making the trip. She also recommended taking along a cellphone and its matching car charger so that a driver may get help in case of an emergency.

She also recommended buckling up, driving defensively and checking out the road conditions before the trip.

“Don’t make it a marathon. Make it a safe trip,” Hiltz said.

Al Laity, service director at Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Rochester Hills, said preventative precautions are just good practice.

“You want to make sure you have your oil changed, tune-ups, brakes, any general maintenance,” he said. “If you’re going from cold to hot, you want to make sure your cooling has been flushed, and the antifreeze is at its proper level.”

Among the states that Michiganders travel to during the winter is Florida. The research team from Visit Florida, who handle the state’s tourism marketing, said 78.8 million domestic visitors traveled to the state in 2013.

“Domestic visitors traveling to the Sunshine State by non-air (56%) and air (44%) transportation during 2013 was unchanged from 2012,” a representative said in an email.

The tourism research team said Michigan made up 3.5 percent of Florida’s auto visitors in 2013. In comparison, neighboring Georgia had the highest percentage of domestic auto visitors in 2013, with 15.2 percent. Next was New York, with 6.8 percent.

However, the tourism department’s research team said it didn’t have data that separates snowbirds from other visitors.

Contact AAA Michigan by visiting www.michigan.aaa.com. Contact Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Rochester Hills by visiting www.rochesterhillschryslerjeep.net or by calling (248) 652-9650. Find out more about Visit Florida by visiting www.visitflorida.com.