Car Care Tips

Tips For Driving In Rain

Since we are in the middle of the rainy season, Carousel Nissan, would like to remind you of some helpful driving tips. While you’re here, be sure to check out our new and pre-owned inventory. Thanks for looking!

Rogue in Rain

  • First and foremost: slow down! It takes longer to stop or adjust in wet weather.
  • Stay toward the middle lanes – water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
  • Maintain proper following distance (3 Second Rule). This needs to be increased in wet weather.
  • Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely. The spray created by their large tires reduces your vision. Take care when passing them as well; if you must pass, do so quickly and safely.
  • Be more alert when driving in wet or slippery conditions. Watch out for brake lights in front of you.
  • Avoid using your brakes; if possible, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
  • Turn your headlights on even in a light rain, or in gloomy, foggy or overcast conditions. Not only do they help you see the road, but they’ll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights you still should put them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better.
  • Before it starts to rain, replace old or brittle wipers.
  • Avoid off-road driving: it’s hard to judge the actual depth of puddles and you can easily become stuck, even in an SUV.
  • Never drive beyond the limits of visibility. At night rainy roads become especially treacherous. The glare of oncoming lights, amplified by the rain on your windscreen, can cause temporary loss of visibility while substantially increasing driver fatigue. In rainy conditions pedestrians, livestock, and wildlife are extremely hard to spot and even harder to avoid.
  • Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it; your car could be swept off the road.
  • When driving through a puddle of uncertain depth, go slow. If it’s deeper than the bottom of your doors, turn around and find another route. Deep water can cause serious damage to a modern car’s electrical system.
  • Avoid splashing pedestrians.
  • If possible, stay off the road during heavy thunderstorms. Large flashes of lightning can temporarily blind and disorient drivers, and the accompanying high winds and heavy rain can create deadly driving conditions.

Slow down! This should be obvious but it also very important. People are so used to driving certain speeds on certain roads that sometimes they forget the need to slow down when inclement weather presents itself.

Before you go – Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls – steering, clutch, brake and accelerator – and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and liable to slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly.

How are your tires? – Check your tires on a regular basis. Bald tires significantly reduce your traction on wet roadways, and offer little resistance to hydroplaning. When your tires run over water, the water is displaced and it needs somewhere to go quickly. The best place is between the treads of your tires. If your tires are bald, the water has no place to go and you end up riding on a layer of water, like a boat. (See Hydroplaning, below.)

Turn on your wipers – Replace your wipers regularly, at least once a year. Wiper blades in bad condition don’t clear water from the windshield very well and distort your view. Older vehicles may need to have the whole wiper arm replaced. The arms bend over time and sometimes can’t keep enough downward pressure to clear the windscreen, even with new blades installed. Wipers will often clear light rain from the windscreen with a few sweeps, then run on an almost-dry screen and leave smears of drying dirt. Don’t be afraid to use the windscreen washers liberally: the fluid is cheap (99 cents a gallon) and the safety benefit is high. Carry extra during the winter.

Don’t follow large trucks or busses closely. Splash and spray from these vehicles can obscure your vision, creating a potentially disastrous driving situation. Keep your distance, and your windshield wipers on, when other traffic is in front of you.

Turn on your lights – Whenever visibility is poor or it rains, headlights are a good way to let other drivers know where you are. It’s both helpful to other travelers and makes you more safe. Remember, you are not the only one affected by poor visibility. You may be able to see cars without their headlights on but others may not have vision or windshield wipers as good as yours. Many states require headlights to be turned on when it is raining or when visibility is reduced to less than 500 feet.

Heavy rain – Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, allowing an almost continuous sheet of water to flow over the screen. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guard rail, and wait until the storm passes, seldom more than a few minutes. Keep your headlights on and turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.

Foggy windows – Rain or high humidity can quickly cause windows to mist up inside the car. In a car equipped with air conditioning, turn up the heat and direct the airflow to your defrosters with the AC switch engaged. (Many cars automatically engage the AC when switched to the defrost mode.) In a car without AC the procedure is the same, but you may need to open your side windows to get the air moving. Most modern cars have a built-in rear window defroster that easily clears a misted rear windscreen by heating up electrodes embedded in the glass. If you don’t have one, put your defroster on high and its hot air will eventually follow the inside of the roof down to the rear window. If the car has swiveling dashboard vents, adjust them so that the air flow strikes the upper edge of the side windows. The airflow will clear the side windows first, finally traveling to the rear of the car. If all else fails, a rag or article of clothing will work as well; you’ll just need to clear the window more often. Drivers should regularly clean their windshield and windows, both on the inside and outside, to help them see in good and bad weather. Smokers need to take extra care to make sure their interior windows are clear of a buildup of smoke residue.

Handling a skid – Losing control of your car on wet pavement is a frightening experience. You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Brake before entering the curves. Steer and brake with a light touch. If you find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. This procedure, known as “steering into the skid,” will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you “steer into the skid.”

Expressway driving – Leave lots of space between you and the car in front because it takes longer to stop. You’re supposed to leave a few seconds between cars in dry weather. Make sure you add space in wet weather because if you have to hit the brakes hard, your tires will lock up, you will hydroplane and you will most likely hit the car in front of you. If available, drive in the fast lane, where there are fewer cars and less oil deposited on the road. Also, because of the built-in slope of the road, water drains towards the slower lanes. Avoid lane changes, as water tends to build up between the tire ruts in the lanes.

Oily deposits – Watch for intersections because of the oil spots in the road. Rain is most dangerous when it falls after a long, dry spell on to roads that have become polished and smooth: the rain blends with oil and rubber-dust deposits on the road surface to form a highly dangerous skid mixture. That mixture builds up at intersections, where cars stop and start frequently. Be extra careful immediately after it starts raining because it takes a while for the worst of the dirt and oil to get washed off the road.

Driving Through Water – Where water has flooded onto the road, drive very slowly and cautiously. Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it: you and your car could be swept off the road, possibly finishing you both. Stop the car before entering the flooded area and check the water level ahead. Generally, if the water is deeper than the bottom of your doors or the bottom third of your wheels, it is inadvisable to attempt driving through it. Seek a detour rather than braving the flood and risking damage to your electronic control systems. Attempting to go through deep water can ruin any of these systems, creating a repair bill in the thousands of dollars.

At night it’s much harder to see water hazards. You’ll need good road observational skills to notice the difference between a wet road surface and flood water. Watch the contours not only of the road but also of fences, trees, hedges and buildings at the side of the road ahead. If they appear to be unnaturally low, slow down at once as the road is probably flooded. If you don’t slow down and hit flood water at speed, the effect is almost like hitting a wall: you will first lose control, then come to a violent stop, possibly injuring your passengers as well. Watch out for places where floodwater collects, particularly low-lying roads adjacent to streams, and dips under rail or highway bridges.

If you determine it’s safe to go on, proceed slowly and avoid making large waves in the water. If you have a manual transmission, engage first gear and keep the engine running fast by releasing the clutch just enough to partially engage gear and giving more acceleration than usual. This keeps the exhaust gases moving, helping to prevent water from entering your tailpipe. Vehicles with automatic transmissions should place the car in first gear and feather your brake, slowing the vehicle while at the same time keeping your revs up. Doing this for longer than a few seconds can seriously damage your vehicle and is not recommended. If you’re submerged too deeply, your engine will stall and water might enter your engine through your air intake, causing a condition known engine hydro-lock, forcing you to replace it.

What to do if you stall in deep water – If possible, have someone pull your vehicle out using a tow rope or cable winch. It may be possible to drive a manual transmission car out using the starter motor. You can make the job easier by removing your spark-plugs, thereby lowering your compression and making your starter turn more easily. Take great care not to let water enter the cylinders, as it will hydro-lock your engine, ruining it. This is a last resort for rescuing a flooded vehicle and is not recommended.

Check your brakes – If you successfully pass through a deep water hazard, test your brakes. They may be saturated, and only driving very slowly and braking lightly at the same time will generate enough heat to dry them out. Be sure they are pulling evenly on all wheels before building up speed again.


Carousel Nissan’s Best Vehicle Maintenance Tips

At Carousel Nissan, your premier Nissan dealership in Iowa City, IA, it is our hope that your newly prized vehicle stays running well and with you for as long as you wish. To keep your car running as well as it did when you first bought it, receiving routine maintenance and auto service is crucial. Regularly checking your vehicle’s primary parts such as the engine oil, lights, and tires will not only prolong your car’s life, but also uphold top performance overtime.

We understand that in the midst of your busy daily life, taking the time for vehicle maintenance can quickly be forgotten and overlooked. For this reason, Carousel Nissan has provided you with some of our best and most important vehicle maintenance tips to help keep your car running well and on the road longer.

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Rising gas prices have you down?

With gas rising to nearly $4 a gallon and reports that we may hit $5 a gallon now is a good time to consider a more gas efficient vehicle. Gas efficiency shouldn’t mean minimum choices, that is why Nissan offers the Great 8. Stop in and take a test drive today!

2011 EPA estimates:

Altima 2.5 Sedan and Coupe: 32 hwy/23 city

Versa 1.8 S Sedan and Hatchback: 32 hwy/24 city

Sentra 2.0: 34 hwy/27 city

Juke FWD: 32 hwy/27 city

Cube 1.8: 31 hwy/27 city

All vehicles with Xtronic CVT Transmission. 33 hwy/33 city for Altima Hybrid with eCVT Transmission. Actual mileage may vary.

Talk to a Carousel Nissan Brand Specialist for current offers on the above vehicles and schedule a test drive today!

The crew at Carousel Nissan hosts an event with Safe Kids focusing on car seat installation.

The goal of Safe Kids is “Preventing Injuries: at home, at play, and on the way.” Carousel Nissan helped with the “on the way” part by hosting an event last Saturday that helped families with car seats.

General Sales Manager, Paul Trovas expressed, “Safety is a selling point for us in the Nissan’s we sell everyday, but safety goes beyond the manufacturers design…some of the safety duties rely on the driver. If that driver has kids in the vehicle, it’s their responsibility to make sure the kid is safe and secure. I have a little one of my own at home and I know how complicated car seats can get, especially with these newer models. It was nice to provide an event that could give the parent a little extra peace of mind when buckling up their child.”

Visit the Safe Kids website and this page in particular, which will help you with the age of your child and the proper safety measures concerning them.

Carousel Nissan Fuel Savings Service Special

Fuel ecomomy is crucial in summer traveling. We will replace your engine air filter, flush the fuel injection system to get the deposits out of your fuel system, rotate your tires front to back, inspect tire conditions and ensure your tire pressures are properly set to maximize fuel economy.


$189.99 +tax* Call today to schedule your appointment or take advantage of our convenient online scheduling!

Expires 8.31.11

Gas Saving Tips from your Friends at Carousel Nissan

As gas prices rise, it helps to follow these best practices for optimum gas mileage:

  1. PROPERLY INFLATED TIRES can reduce fuel consumption by 3%. Check your tires once a month at minimum and be sure to set them based on the manufactures recommended PSI levels (usually located in the drivers front door jamb).
  2. TUNING UP YOUR ENGINE will maximize power and substantially enhance fuel efficiency.
  3. CHANGING YOUR AIR FILTER will increase fuel economy and prevent the vehicle from stalling at idle.
  4. USING SYNTHETIC OIL can save an average of 5% gas. If you can’t use synthetic oil, use the lightest weight possible such as 5w30.
  5. AVOIDING EXCESSIVE IDLING as this wastes a significant amount of fuel. A good rule of thumb is to take the first parking spot you see rather than waiting (and idling) for something closer.
  6. SELECTING LOW-ROLLING-RESISTANCE COMPOUND TIRES can increase fuel economy by a few percent. Be sure not to substitute these for proper tire inflation.

These small tips can add up to a lot of savings at the fuel pump. Paul Trovas, General Sales Manager of Carousel Nissan, likes to use a fuel optimizer program to help clients figure the difference in driving their gas hog verses a newer, gas efficient vehicle. He pulls figures based on an SUV or Truck averaging 15 mpg and shares, “If you purchased one of our vehicles that averages 30 mpg, like the Versa, Sentra, or Altima, and you drive an average of 15,000 miles a year and gas prices are $3.40 per gallon, you would save $153 a month by switching vehicles. If you take advantage of the incredible buying incentives happening now, you may also be lowering your monthly car payment. Combined with the gas savings, you could be decreasing your monthly expenses by a considerable amount.”

Our Spring Service Special will cover most of the above mentioned items to keep your vehicle running efficiently:

Lube/oil/filter change
Pollen Filter
HVAC Service
Tire Rotation
Brake Inspection
27pt. Safety Inspection
Exterior Car Wash

All for only $159.99*

(Total does not include tax and disposal fees. Oil change includes up to 5qts of Mobil Oil. Synthetic Oil and Ester Oil are available for an additional charge. Prices on pollen filters vary between models. Not valid with any other offers or coupons.)

Time to Winterize Your Car

As much as we don’t want to admit it, winter is right around the corner. We already had snow on the ground at this time last October! It crept on us fast and we want to help make sure you and your car are ready this time around. Here’s a few helpful hints!

Get your scrapers and snow brush ready. Last year, the brush side of the scraper was put to as much use as the scraper side! Don’t get caught at the office during the first snow and realize you don’t have your scraper.

Check your tire pressure. Your tires should be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction when driving. Often when the weather cools, your tire pressure drops and you may see your Tire Pressure light come on on your console, so now is a good time to check it. Refer to your owners manual for the preferred pressure.

Consider snow tires. You may be driving one of the many fine cars sold at Carousel, that handle the winter ice and snow very well. However, tires do wear, and you should check the tread before winter is upon us.  Some people prefer snow tires specifically, and although it’s not required, they can help you manage the winter roads.

Check wiper blades and washer fluid. When the car in front of you is throwing up slush and ice, you’ve got to have properly working blades and plenty of fluid to get you through the season. Now is an easy time to check your blades.

Make sure you have routine service and maintenance scheduled. It’s smart to go into winter with all the proper fluids and a fresh oil change. The service professionals at Carousel will also check your coolant levels to make sure you have the proper mix of antifreeze and water.  We’ll go over any questions and concerns you have about you and your car facing winter. Together…we can brave another Iowa winter! You can schedule your service on-line now!

Lastly,  play it safe, you never know what may happen out of the road, even when your being careful…pack a “just in case” emergency kit today! Here’s some must-haves for your kit!

  • Gloves
  • Blankets
  • Windshield Wiper Fluid
  • Wiper Blades
  • Ice Scrapers
  • Kitty Litter/Sand
  • Small Snow Shovels
  • Flashlights
  • Tire Gauges
  • Extra cell phone battery
  • Extra warm clothes left in car; sweater, snow pants, thick socks, gloves, scarf hat.
  • Flares or reflective triangle