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366th LRS preps for cold weather, you should too

The 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron seasonal overhaul program is wrapping up after six-months of preparation September 30, 2018 at Mountain Home AFB.

The 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron seasonal overhaul program is wrapping up after six-months of preparation September 30, 2018 at Mountain Home AFB. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class JaNae Capuno)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron seasonal overhaul program is wrapping up after six-months of preparation September 30, 2018 at Mountain Home AFB.

The program allows the 366th LRS to inspect vehicles specializing in snow removal and prepares the base for winter weather conditions.

“The program is important because it ensures these vehicles are dependable and reliable for the winter season to keep the base operating,” said 2nd Lt. Josephine Kane, 366th LRS vehicle management flight commander. “Not only do these inspections help generate sorties by keeping the flightline clear and the aircraft de-iced, but the program also keeps roads open to ensure the safe travel of Gunfighters.”

These inspections aid mission-readiness across the wing. Additionally, it is important that Airmen around the base do their part to prepare their privately-owned vehicles for the cold season ahead.

Tech. Sgt. Amy Lynn Koehler-Warren, 366th Fighter Wing ground safety office NCO in charge of occupational safety, explained that good maintenance throughout the year is crucial to prevent breakdowns during wintertime.

“It’s imperative to maintain your vehicle properly so you don’t get stranded on the side of the road and become a hazard to yourself and on-coming traffic,” Koehler-Warren said.

The 366th Fighter Wing ground safety office recommends these useful tips to all drivers on base.

- Tire Maintenance

Rain, snow and ice reduce tire traction and compromise your control. What's the solution?

1. Get winter tires
Winter tires dig into loose snow and compress it into their large tread grooves (like packing a snowball), resulting in snow-to-snow traction. You can choose from three types:

· High performance winter tires feature large directional and/or asymmetric treads to enhance handling and steering, resist hydroplaning and help tires work through slush.

· Studless winter tires are most common and increase traction on ice through the use of advanced tread rubber compounds. They're a safe alternative to studded tires, which are forbidden in many states.

· Studded winter tires are popular for truck owners and drivers who spend a lot of time on snow and ice-covered roads. Studded tires are allowed from Oct. 1 - April 30 in Idaho.

2. Check your tire pressure
Fall and early winter are the most critical times to check tire inflation pressures because the days are getting shorter and temperatures are getting colder.

For every 10-degree Fahrenheit change in temperature, your tire's inflation will change about one pound per square inch (psi) (up with higher temperatures and down with lower).

Check your tire pressure in the morning before you drive a few miles. If you park in an attached or heated garage, you will "lose" pressure when you leave its warmth.

3. Check your tire treads and sidewalls
Look for thin or uneven tread wear. Take a Lincoln-head penny and insert it Lincoln-head first into your tire tread at the most worn part of the tire. If you see the top of Lincoln's head, you may need new tires. Cut or damaged sidewalls are also weak areas that can collapse under severe conditions.

- Under the Hood

1. Check your battery
It takes a lot more power to start your car when it is cold outside. Check for clean and tight connections and proper fluid levels. Clean corrosion (a whitish powder) from battery terminals.

2. Check your cooling system
Your coolant system keeps your car warm. Check the level, acidity and concentration of radiator fluids at least every 3,000 miles.
Tip: A mixture of 50% anti-freeze and 50% water will protect down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Clean your fuel system
Add a de-icer to your fuel to keep moisture in the fuel system from freezing.

4. Change your oil and oil filter
Check your owner's manual for the grade of oil recommended for winter. In most cases, 10w30 oil works year-round.

5. Inspect and replace
Inspect your air filter, rubber hoses and drive belts and replace as necessary. Also check your fluid levels (transmission, brake, differential, power steering and window washer fluid).

- Winter Safety Kit

Prepare a winter safety kit to keep in your car at all times. Be sure to include:

1. Winter necessities such as an ice scraper; tire chains; extra washer fluid; boots and gloves; and sand, kitty litter or old house shingles for traction.

2. Emergency supplies such as extra clothing and blankets, flashlight with spare batteries, energy bars or dried snacks, drinking water, a battery-powered radio with spare batteries, a first aid kit, booster cables, safety flares, a small shovel, and a jug of water and funnel for radiator refills.

3. Tools and "fix-it" supplies such as a screwdriver, pliers, rubber hammer, wrench, a can of penetrating oil, an old scarf and belt for emergency hose repairs, and a small throw rug and old shower curtain (for kneeling next to your car or getting under it).

- Winter Driving Tips:

Always pay close attention to the road.

Brake gently, accelerate gently and steer gently when snow or ice is present.

As every driver's education teacher repeats, steer into a skid.

If you get stuck in the snow, throw kitty litter, old newspapers or dirt in front of and behind the drive wheels.

In snowy conditions, drive in lower gears. Avoid using your overdrive feature.

Always keep your gas tank at least half full.

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